- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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Here is the latest in a series of updates on the top prospects of the Dallas Stars. This one looks at forward Reilly Smith, who joined the team at the end of the season after wrapping up his college career at Miami University.
Smith, as a junior, had 30 goals in 39 games, finishing second in the nation to fellow Stars prospect Austin Smith. His 48 points were tied for tenth in the nation.
Smith, a third round pick (69th overall) in 2009, was named First Team All-CCHA, Second-Team All-American by Inside College Hockey, and was among the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. In his three years at Miami he registered 122 points (66 goals, 56 assists) in 121 games.
“The confidence has been a huge factor for me in being able to find the back of the net, and also the physical aspect of it. I’ve put on a lot of weight and strength over the three years at Miami,” said Smith, who was 160 pounds when arrived at Miami and was 185 pounds when he left. “All of that correlated to my success in college hockey.”
After his college career ended he signed a three-year entry-level with Dallas and was put on the NHL roster, making his debut in a game at Edmonton on March 28. He played 4:05 and had one shot on goal.
“Even though I played only four minutes I tried to soak in every moment of it. Just being in Edmonton and having so much history around you, being a small part of it was a great experience,” Smith said. “Being my first NHL game it was phenomenal, getting the win was great and I got my feet wet for the next game in Vancouver.”
Smith played 8:39 and had no points in that game against Vancouver, was a healthy scratch for the next three games and then played in the season finale against St. Louis, picking up no points and two penalty minutes in 12:28 of ice time.
“He has some real nice attributes as far as an offensive player goes. He just needs to become more familiar with our defensive structure and getting used to playing with pro players,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I think he is going to be a good player in the future.”
The 21-year-old Smith, who is a left shot but plays both right and left wing, has speed, skill and a good shot. He’s projected as a top six forward.
“Reilly has been a real good player from the time we drafted him. He had a real good college career. It was nice that he got into a few games in Dallas to give him a preview of what the NHL is all about and to see what it takes to play at that level,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Player Personnel. “He’s showed at every level he’s played at that he is a good player. Now it will be his challenge to go to the American League or to our team, if he makes it, to learn the lessons to adjust to be a good pro. I think it will take him some time, but he’ll be a good offensive player at the pro level.”
As for Smith’s chances of starting next season at the NHL level, Jackson said time will tell.
“That will depend on his summer and how he comes in,” Jackson said. “Realistically the first step should be playing in the American League and being a good player there, but if he is good enough to bypass that it will be great for us. Time will tell that for sure.”
Background on Dallas Stars forward Reilly Smith.