Jerred Smithson is more than a footnote. The 20 year old winger was acquired from Calgary a couple weeks ago for future considerations. While this move was glossed over by many Kings fans, including yours truly, Smithson seems to have something special. Jerred Smithson is a right winger for the Calgary Hitmen of the CHL. The Hitmen are well known in the Canadian Hockey League, not only because of professional wrestler Brett “Hitman” Hart’s involvement with the team, but because highly regarded Ranger prospect Pavel Brendl also plays for them. Smithson, who only has 10 goals and 20 assists this season, is perhaps even more highly regarded than Brendl with some fans. Smithson is what so many broadcasters call a “lunchpail” player. Smithson is a blue collar-type player. He has little or no regard for his body, as evidenced by a recent injury from throwing himself into the boards attempting to make a big hit. Smithson has amassed over 100 PIM’s and as Kings fans can tell you, that is important for a guys who has flanked a star like Brendl this season. A guy who has size, stands up for his teammates and makes big hits is exactly what the Kings need right now.
While Smithson is a lower-line forward, injuries recently put him on a line with future NHL stars Brendl and Brad Moran. Smithson responded with 5 goals and 10 assists over the 12 games he spent with that line (he only has 30 points for the whole season). When asked about that, Smithson told the Calgary Herald “Right now, whatever role they put me in, I’ll just go out and do the same thing — throw the body around as hard as possible, work as hard as I can, and maybe contribute on the scoreboard every once in a while”.
Sounds like something the Kings need right now.
Some encouraging news from the AHL. Eric Belanger and Greg Phillips are both playing well. Phillips has already eclipsed last season’s goal total with 18 and has racked up 98 PIM’s. After seeing Phillips play a couple weeks ago, I came away impressed with his potential. His size and grit is appealing, despite the glut of third and fourth line players in the Kings’ system. Belanger continues to prosper as his health stabilizes. Belanger has 30 points in 50 games this season after a miserable year last season. Belanger still needs to add alot to his game, but he has stayed healthy for one of the longest stretches of his career.