Dallas Stars: Curtis McKenzie

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
7:31
PM CT
Here are some notes and a statistical update on Dallas Stars prospects playing junior hockey, in Europe and in college.

Junior hockey

*G Jack Campbell (1st round/2010) wrapped up his junior career and is now heading to the Texas Stars, where he could see some action soon. Campbell played his last junior game for Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) on Saturday, allowing nine goals in a game against Windsor, but his team won 10-9. Campbell finished the season 21-15-7, with a 3.46 goals against average, .896 save percentage and two shutouts.

*D Jamie Oleksiak (1st round/2011) and RW Brett Ritchie (2nd round/2011), who both play for Niagara of the OHL, are headed for the Ontario League playoffs, where they will play Oshawa. Ritchie, who ended the season on a four-game points streak (3 goals, 2 assists), had 24 goals and 21 assists in 53 games. Oleksiak was a plus-10 over his last seven games. He ended the regular season with 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) and a plus-31 rating in 59 games.

*RW Matej Stransky (6th round/2011) ended the regular season on a six game points streak (4 goals, 11 assists) for Saskatoon of the WHL. Stransky finished the season with 81 points (39 goals, 42 assists) in 70 games. Saskatoon’s first round playoff series is against Medicine Hat, which features Dallas draft pick Alex Theriau (4th round/2010).

*D Troy Vance (5th round/2011) finished the regular season with 24 points (4 goals, 20 assists) and a plus-17 rating in 57 games for Victoriaville of the QMJHL. Victoriaville plays Baie-Comeau in the first round of the playoffs.

College

*F Austin Smith (5th round/2007) wrapped up his college career over the weekend as Colgate finished fourth in the ECAC tournament. The Dallas native is expected to head to the Texas Stars once a contract with the Dallas Stars is finalized. Smith finished the season with 36 goals and 21 assists in 39 games. He is among the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award and was named the ECAC Player of the Year.

*RW Reilly Smith (3rd round/2009) had 3 goals and 2 assists in two CCHA games for Miami University over the weekend. Smith, who has 30 goals and 18 assists in 38 games, is among the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. Miami lost in the semifinals of the CCHA Tournament, but is headed to the NCAA tournament as the 5th seed. Miami, which also features Dallas prospect Curtis McKenzie (6th round/2009) plays 12th seeded Massachusetts-Lowell in the East Regional on Friday.

*RW Alex Chiasson (2nd round/2009) scored one goal, but Boston University lost to Maine in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament. Chiasson now has 15 goals and 29 assists in 37 games. BU is the 9th seed in the NCAA Tournament and will play 8th seeded Minnesota (and fellow Dallas draft Nico Sacchetti) in the West Regional on Saturday.

*LW Alex Guptill (3rd round/2010) had one assist in two CCHA tournament games for Michigan, which lost in the championship game to Western Michigan. Guptill, who has 16 goals and 17 assists in 40 games, was named the CCHA’s Rookie of the Year. Michigan is the 2nd seed in the NCAA Tournament and plays 13th seeded Cornell in the Midwest Regional on Friday.

Europe

*D Patrik Nemeth (2nd round/2010) had one goal and a plus-one rating in five games as AIK beat Lulea in the first round of the Swedish Elite League playoffs. AIK now advances to the semifinal round of the playoffs.

*D John Klingberg (5th round/2010) has no points and a minus-two rating in four games for Skelleftea, which leads its first round series against MODO, 3-2.

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
4:16
PM CT
Here are some notes and a statistical update on Dallas Stars prospects playing junior hockey, in Europe and in college.

*RW Alex Chiasson (2nd round/2009) had two goals, including the series-winning goal in double overtime, and four assists as Boston University beat New Hampshire in three games in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. “It was probably one of the biggest goals of my career,” Chiasson told the media about his series-winner after the game. BU takes on Maine in the Hockey East semifinals this weekend.

*RW Reilly Smith (3rd round/2009) had one goal and four assists as Miami swept a best-of-three CCHA series against Michigan State over the weekend. Miami outscored Michigan 10-1 in the two games. Stars prospect Curtis McKenzie (6th round/2009) had one goal and one assist in the first game of the series for Miami,which plays Western Michigan in the CCHA semifinals.

*F Austin Smith (5th round/2007) had two goals and two assists as Colgate beat Quinnipiac in three-games in the ECAC quarterfinals. Smith had one goal and one assist in Colgate’s 4-0 victory in the third and deciding game of the series. Colgate plays Union in the ECAC semis.

*LW Alex Guptill (3rd round/2010) had one assist as Michigan swept Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the CCHA tournament. Michigan plays Bowling Green in the semifinals.

*D Mike Bergin had three assists as RPI was swept by Union in the ECAC tournament. Bergin, a senior, wrapped up his collegiate career.

*F Scott Winkler (3rd round/2008) scored one goal in three games as Colorado College lost its series against Michigan Tech in the WCHA quarterfinals. Winkler, a junior, has one year left at Colorado College.

*D Patrik Nemeth (2nd round/2010) has one assist and a plus-two rating in the first two games of the Swedish Elite Playoffs. AIK is tied 1-1 in its first round best-of-seven series.

*D John Klingberg (5th round/2010) has no points in his first two games of the Swedish Elite League Playoffs. Skelleftea leads its best-of-seven series 2-0.

*C Emil Molin (4th round/2011) will be playing for Brynas in Sweden’s Junior playoffs. Those playoffs begin this week.

*The Canadian junior leagues wrap up the regular season this week and the playoffs in the OHL, WHL and QMJHL just around the corner.


Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
8:34
PM CT
Here are some notes and a statistical update on Dallas Stars prospects playing junior hockey, in Europe and in college.

*RW Reilly Smith (3rd round/2009) was named All-CCHA First Team on Wednesday. Smith, a junior, led the CCHA in goal scoring and ranked second nationally with 26 in 34 games for Miami University.

*LW Alex Guptill (3rd round/2010) was named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Guptill led all CCHA rookies in scoring and ranked seventh nationally with 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 36 games for Michigan.

College tournaments

College tournament play began over the weekend and continues this weekend. All Dallas prospects in college will be in action.

*RW Alex Chiasson (2nd round/2009) and Boston University will take on New Hampshire in the Hockey East Quarterfinals.

*RW Reilly and LW Curtis McKenzie’s (6th round/2009) Miami University team will take on Michigan State in the CCHA quarterfinals.

*LW Alex Guptill and Michigan will take on Notre Dame in the CCHA quarterfinals.

*F Austin Smith (5th round/2007) and Colgate take on Quinnipiac in the ECAC quarterfinals.

*D Mike Bergin (7th round/2008) and RPI will take on Union in the ECAC quarterfinals. Bergin scored the game-winning goal as RPI beat Clarkson 4-1 in the third and final game of the first round series. Bergin had two assists in RPI’s win in the first game of the best-of-three series.

*F Scott Winkler (3rd round/2008) and Colorado College will play Michigan Tech in the WCHA tournament

*F Nico Sacchetti (2nd round/2007) and Minnesota play Alaska-Anchorage in the WCHA tournament.

European playoffs

*The Swedish Elite League playoffs begin this weekend. Stars defense prospects Patrik Nemeth (2nd round/2010) and John Klingberg (5th round/2010) will be playing.

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
3:57
PM CT
Here are some notes and a statistical update on Dallas Stars prospects playing junior hockey, in Europe and in college.

*RW Austin Smith (5th round/2007) scored five goals in two games over the weekend, including all the goals in Colgate’s 3-1 victory over Quinnipiac. Smith now has 15 goals in 13 games and he leads the nation in goal scoring (1.54 per game).

*LW Curtis McKenzie (6th round/2009) had one goal and two assists and RW Reilly Smith (3rd round/2009) had one goal and one assist as Miami University went 1-0-1 in a weekend series against Bowling Green over the weekend. Smith, a junior, has 11 points (8 goals, 3 assists) in 12 games. McKenzie, a junior, has 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in 14 games.

*LW Alex Guptill (3rd round/2010) scored two goals in Michigan’s 6-5 loss to Ohio State on Saturday. Guptill has 9 points (6 goals, 3 assists) in 14 games and is tied for the team lead in goal scoring among freshmen.

*RW Brett Ritchie (2nd round/2011) has been out with a hip flexor for Sarnia (OHL). He could return this weekend.

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
12:52
PM CT
Here’s an update on Dallas Stars prospects playing in juniors, college and Europe.

*G Jack Campbell (Windsor/OHL) is 2-1 with a 2.00 goals against average and .938 save percentage in the playoff so far. Campbell stopped 40 of 43 shots in a double overtime win over Erie that tied the series at 1-1. Windsor currently leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

*Scott Glennie (Brandon/WHL) is tied for third in playoff scoring with five points (3 goals, two assists) in three games. Brandon currently leads Medicine Hat 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

*D Jace Coyle (Medicine Hat/WHL) is tied for the lead in scoring among WHL defensemen in the playoffs with four points (1 goals, 3 assists) in three games.

*D Alex Theriau (Medicine Hat/WHL) missed the first game of the Brandon series with a groin injury, but returned to the play the last two and has one goal so far in the series.

*LW Matt Fraser (Kootenay/WHL) has one goal and one assist in two playoff games. Kootenay and Moose Jaw are tied 1-1 in their best-of-seven series.

*D Hubert Labrie (Gatineau/QMJHL) has one assist in two playoff games. Gatineau leads Rimouski 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

*Neither RW Reilly Smith nor LW Curtis McKenzie factored in the scoring as Miami University was knocked out of the NCAA tournament by New Hampshire over the weekend.

*Smith ranks fifth in the nation in scoring with 54 points (28 goals and 26 assists) in 38 games. His 28 goals rank fifth nationally as well.

*D Mike Bergin (RPI) and C Scott Winkler (Colorado College) also had their seasons come to an end when their teams were knocked out of the NCAA tournament over the weekend.

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

March, 22, 2011
3/22/11
7:24
PM CT
The regular season in Canadian major junior hockey has ended and the playoffs get underway this week. The NCAA tournament begins this weekend as well. Here’s an update on Dallas Stars prospects playing in juniors, college and Europe.

*D Brenden Dillon has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Texas Stars now that his junior career with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds has come to an end. Dillon finished fifth in scoring among WHL defensemen with 59 points (8 goals, 51 assists) in 72 games. Dillon was signed to entry-level deal by the Dallas Stars earlier this month and that contract will kick in next season.

*RW Reilly Smith had two goals and four assists in two games as Miami University won the CCHA tournament this past weekend. LW Curtis McKenzie scored a goal for Miami in Saturday’s championship game, a 5-2 victory over Western Michigan.

*Miami now moves onto the NCAA tournament. Other Dallas prospects playing in the tournament are D Mike Bergin (RPI) and C Scott Winkler (Colorado College).

*F Scott Glennie finished ninth in the WHL in scoring with 91 points (35 goals, 56 assists) in 72 games. Glennie’s Brandon Wheat Kings will the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have Stars prospects Jace Coyle and Alex Theriau on defense, in the first round of the WHL Playoffs.

*G Jack Campbell’s Windsor Spitfires will play Erie in round one of the OHL playoffs.

*D Hubert Labrie’s Gatineau Olympiques will play Rimouski in the first of the QMJHL playoffs.

*D John Klingberg had three assists and a plus-five rating as Frolunda (Jr.) won its first round best-of-three series 2-0.

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
5:00
PM CT
Here are some notes and the latest statistics on Dallas Stars prospects playing in juniors, college and Europe.
  • Goaltender Jack Campbell continues to struggle early in the season with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. Campbell, getting his first start in the last three Windsor games, allowed four goals on 25 shots in a 4-1 loss to Plymouth. Campbell has allowed four goals or more in all seven of his starts. He is 2-5-0 on the season with a 4.85 goals against average and a .854 save percentage. “I don't know what issues he has,” Spitfires coach Bob Jones told the Windsor Star about Campbell’s struggles.
  • Reilly Smith and Curtis McKenzie both scored goals as Miami University beat St. Cloud State 6-3 Friday. Smith now has two goals in three games this season. McKenzie’s goal was his first of the season.
  • After serving a two-game suspension for violating team rules, Alex Chiasson played his first game for Boston University over the weekend. He picked up an assist and was a plus-one in BU’s 2-2 tie with Massachusetts.
  • Forward Alex Guptill scored his first goals of the season, notching two in Waterloo’s (USHL) 6-4 loss to Dubuque on Saturday.
  • Defenseman John Klingberg is back with his junior team in Sweden. Klingberg played eight games with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, picking up two assists in eight games. In six junior games he has nine points (one goal, eight assists). Klingberg will be heading to the United States in a couple of weeks with Sweden’s Under-20 team to play a series of games against U.S. colleges from November 1-6. Sweden will play games against Harvard, Merrimack College, Williams College and UMass-Amherst.

Dallas Stars Prospects: Notes and Stats

October, 11, 2010
10/11/10
11:15
PM CT
Here are some notes and the latest statistics on Dallas Stars prospects playing in juniors, college and Europe.
  • Forward Alex Chiasson (2nd round pick/38th overall in 2009) missed Boston University’s first two games of the season due a suspension for a violation of team rules. According to The Daily Free Press, the suspension covered one exhibition game and the first two regular season games of the season.
  • Forwards Reilly Smith (3rd round pick in 2009) and Curtis McKenzie (6th round pick in 2009) both sat out Miami University’s first game of the season. They were listed as healthy scratches. Both players returned for Miami’s second game of the season, and Smith scored a goal in his season debut.
  • Forward Nico Sacchetti (2nd round/50th overall in 2007) scored the game-winning goal as Minnesota beat Massachusetts 5-4 over the weekend.
  • Defenseman Jace Coyle (free agent signing) leads the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL in scoring with 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 4 games.
  • Goalie Jack Campbell (1st round/11th overall in 2010) is now 2-4-0 with a 4.99 goals against average and a .855 save percentage through his first seven games with the Windsor Spitfires.

Dallas Stars prospect rankings

August, 14, 2010
8/14/10
8:49
PM CT
One of the notable parts of The Hockey News Yearbook - at least in my opinion - is the ranking of each team’s prospects. THN’s rankings for the Dallas Stars this year include pretty much the same guys I would throw in a top ten list. There are a couple of other guys I would have considered (more on that below), but I like the THN list. I agree with the choices for No. 1 and No. 2 and then might have ranked them a little differently after that, but it’s not significant enough to worry about.

I'd say that Scott Glennie is their top prospect at forward, Jack Campbell is their top goaltending prospect and Philip Larsen is the best defense prospect.

Anyway, these are the THN rankings along with my comments on the players.
  1. Scott Glennie, RW (2009 Draft/1st round, 8th overall): He has great speed and good offensive skills. He’ll get a look in training camp, but expect him to play with Brandon of the WHL this season. I really liked what I saw from him at Canada’s junior development camp earlier this month. He was far more noticeable then he was at last year’s camp, which should give him a good chance of making it to the World Juniors this season. I think he’s poised for a big season in juniors, which should set him up nicely for turning pro in 2011-12.
  2. Jack Campbell, G (2010 Draft/1st round, 11th overall): He’s got all the tools to be a good goaltender: good size, athletic ability, mental toughness and great work ethic. After a couple seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program he makes the jump to the Ontario Hockey League, where he’ll play for the Windsor Spitfires. Not only will he try to help Windsor win a third straight OHL title and third straight Memorial Cup, he’ll also try to help the USA defend its gold medal at the World Juniors in Buffalo. It will be a good test for someone who has a reputation for thriving in pressure situations.
  3. Tyler Beskorowany, G (2008 Draft/2nd round, 59th overall): Ask the Stars and they’ll tell you Beskorowany has one thing you can’t teach, and that’s size. The Stars have him listed at 6-5, 204 pounds. He possesses some good athletic ability too. I like him more every time I see him play. Beskorowany turns pro this season and will likely play for the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL. He played a lot of games and faced a lot of shots in his finals season of juniors with Kingston of the OHL, and that should have him well prepared for the transition to the pro game.
  4. Philip Larsen, D (2008 Draft/5th round, 149th overall): The smooth skating Larsen played two games for the Stars at the end of last season, and did well. He’s skilled and he’s got excellent hockey sense. He’ll get a look in training camp but probably will probably start with the Texas Stars of the AHL, where he can get plenty of ice time and continue to develop and acclimate to the North American game. He’s very close to becoming a regular player in the NHL.
  5. Alex Chiasson, RW (2009 Draft/2nd round, 38th overall): He’s got good size (6-4, 195 pounds) and is still filling out. I liked what I saw from him at the development camp in Frisco this summer. He moves well for his size and he has a nice skill set. He had a good freshman season at Boston University, and should be in a position to build on that this season. He’s a long-term project since he’s expected to play four years of college.
  6. Patrik Nemeth, D (2010 Draft/2nd round, 41st overall): He’s a big, mean, physical defenseman who plays a two-way game. He’ll play for AIK in Sweden this season. He’s got a shot at Sweden’s World Junior team too. He was at the development camp in Frisco and there was plenty to like. He’s 6-3 and already over 200 pounds. He moves well and has some good puck skills. A bit of a project, but he’s got a lot of upside.
  7. Colton Sceviour, RW (2007 Draft/4th round, 112th overall): Versatile, two-way forward had an excellent rookie season with the Texas Stars of the AHL last season. He played all three forward positions and played in all situations. Good defensive forward. He’s got a chance to make a mark in training camp and set himself up for his first call up to the NHL at some point this season. He’s probably going to be a grinder type in the NHL and he’s got the tools to do that really well.
  8. Reilly Smith, RW (2009 Draft/3rd round, 69th overall): The speedy, skilled Smith is coming off a solid freshman season at Miami University. His numbers (8 goals, 12 assists in 44 games) weren’t spectacular, but they were OK considering he was playing on one of the top teams in the country. Those numbers should improve as he moves along in his college career. Like a lot of players his age, he needs to bulk up. He can be a fun player to watch.
  9. Tomas Vincour, RW (2009 Draft/5th round, 129th overall): The Czech forward has some good size (6-2, 200 pounds), plays a physical game and has a decent scoring touch. He turns pro this season after three seasons in the Western Hockey League, where he got acclimated to the North American game. He’s expected to play with the Texas Stars this season and if he has a strong showing in training camp he might put himself in a position for a call up to the NHL at some point in 2010-11. He likes the North American game and has the potential to be a power forward.
  10. Curtis McKenzie, LW (2009 Draft/6th round, 159th overall): McKenzie, who has good size (6-2/192 pounds) and is still growing, is projected as a power forward. He’s physical, has a nose for the net and has a decent scoring touch. He put up good up pretty good numbers (6 goals, 21 assists in 42 games) as a freshman at Miami University. Like teammate and fellow Dallas prospect Reilly Smith, he made an impact on a very good team. He should take another step forward this season at Miami.

There are a couple of other guys I probably would have considered for the list. One is goalie Richard Bachman, who probably will play for the Texas Stars this season. He bucks the trend of a goalie with size, but he stops pucks and wins games. He’s got good athletic ability and is highly competitive. I wouldn’t count him out.

Forward Ondrej Roman is another player I like. He’s a slick, skilled playmaker. The Czech missed most of last season due to a contract issues that kept him from coming over to North America. He’s expected to play with the Texas Stars. He’s played a couple seasons in the WHL, so he is used to the North American game and that will help as he makes the jump to the North American pro game this season.

Glennie, Campbell, Beskorowany, Larsen, Sceviour, Vincour and Roman all are scheduled to play for the Stars at the NHL Prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan next month.

Catching up with Curtis McKenzie

July, 18, 2010
7/18/10
10:10
PM CT
The Dallas Stars have found some good prospects with later round picks over the past few years, and left wing Curtis McKenzie looks like he could be another one.

McKenzie, a sixth round pick (159th overall) in 2009, led Miami University in rookie points (27) and assists (21) last season. He ranked 4th in the CCHA and 27th nationally in rookie scoring at .64 points per game.

“For a kid that was drafted late, he went right into Miami and played regularly,” said Les Jackson, Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development. “He's a gritty, hard-nosed player that works hard and has some weight in his game. He played in all situations for the team. He opened some eyes and I think he established himself at that level. Like most guys he'll need time to develop, but he's in a good spot to move his game ahead.”

McKenzie, who made the jump to college from Junior A hockey, ended up being a key player on one of the top teams in the country.

“It went a lot better than I expected going into the season,” McKenzie said of his first season at Miami. “I was set up with great players around me all season, which helped me a lot. The jump wasn’t as big as I was expecting it to be. Got off to a good start and rolled from there. “

The 19-year-old British Columbia native, who is listed as 6-2, 192 pounds, sees himself pretty much the way scouts described him going into the 2009 draft.

“I’m a physical player. I’m a hard worker, have to get to the net all the time,” McKenzie said. “When I am generating offense it’s coming off my hard work and my physical play. I’d say power forward.”

In the NCAA tournament, McKenzie scored one goal and added three assists in two games to help Miami advance to the Frozen Four, where it lost in the semifinals to Boston College.

It was the second straight trip to the Frozen Four for Miami, a team that puts an emphasis on the defensive side of things.

“Our defensive system is awesome. We can open up when we have the chance, so we’re not being held back with our skill,” said McKenzie. “Definitely our defensive system has helped our team get to the Frozen Four, and for myself it’s helped fine tune my defensive game. You need that to play at the higher levels.”

McKenzie’s roommate is right wing Reilly Smith, a fellow Dallas Stars prospect and also a 2009 draft pick. Both attended Dallas’ recent development camp in Frisco, and didn’t mind sharing some roommate issues.

“I have to get to sleep first because he starts snoring and I won’t be able to get to sleep,” said Smith. “He’s not a very good at multi-tasking. If he’s trying to figure out his computer there’s no point in asking him a question because he won’t be answering any time soon.”

McKenzie acknowledged there could be a multi-tasking problem, but puts the blame on spending too much time with Smith. And McKenzie added some of Smith’s television viewing habits are peculiar.

“He’s always got cartoons on TV, that’s probably the most annoying thing,” McKenzie said. “I come back to the dorm and he’s intensely watching Zack and Cody Efron, whatever that show is. It’s kind of different for a college person to be watching a show like that, but I guess it’s just something I have to deal with.”

But both said they enjoy being at Miami together and hope they can stick together as they work their way up the ranks in the Stars’ system.

“It’s awesome having him around, but it is a pain having to deal with him around all the time, looking after him,” McKenzie said, still unable to resist taking a shot at Smith. “But it’s great to have him here and, who knows, maybe at the next level we’ll stick together and be together for a long time too.”

Development Camp Photos

Shannon Byrne took some photos at the recent development camp in Frisco and you can view them by clicking here or on the photo of Jack Campbell below.

Catching up with Reilly Smith

July, 18, 2010
7/18/10
12:02
AM CT
Stars prospect Reilly Smith is coming off a solid season. Playing as a freshman on one of the top college teams in the nation – Miami University – Smith played in all 44 games, led the team in rookie goal scoring with 8 and finished second in rookie scoring with 20 points.

“It was a real big transition. I came from Junior A in Toronto, which was a big step going into play college hockey,” said Smith, a 19-year-old Ontario native. “It’s a whole different style of play, but I thought it was a great season. It was a great atmosphere to walk into and I just can’t wait until next year.”

And the Stars believe bigger things are ahead for Smith, a third round pick (69th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

“Smith really took a step up in the second half of the season, “ said Les Jackson, Stars director of Scouting and Player Development. “He is a real intelligent offensive player. As he progresses, I suspect he’s going to have an impact on the points side of the game in college. … He's a crafty player. He's got some good offensive instincts and talent. I think he's had a great start in college. There's a lot of hope for him. There's talent there.”

Smith, a right wing, put up good numbers with the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in 2008-09, registering 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 49 games. Making the jump to playing at Miami this past season meant not only adjusting to the college game, but learning to adjust to a system to where defensive responsibility is a big part of the team’s success.

“Junior A in Toronto is a very offensive league and they probably don’t stress defense as much as they should, but coming to Miami they gave me a look at the opposite side of the spectrum and it really helped my game,” Smith said. “I’m grateful for it.”

Still, Smith was an offensive contributor for the RedHawks. He ranked eighth overall on the team in scoring and 16 of his 20 points came in the final 29 games of the season. The speedy, skilled forward saw pretty good ice time and played in key situations on a very good team.

“There were a lot of older guys and guys returning from the year before when they went to the Frozen Four,” said Smith. “I can’t thank the coaches enough for letting me have all that ice time, giving me the chance to improve and play with some great players.”

Miami made it to the Frozen Four again this past season, falling in the semifinal game. Along for the ride with Smith was left wing Curtis McKenzie, the Stars’ sixth round pick (159th overall) in the 2009 draft. McKenzie, who led the RedHawks in rookie scoring with 27 points (6 goals, 21 assists, is Smith’s college roommate.

“It’s crazy how it all worked out,” Smith said. “We got drafted the same year and ended up as roommates. He’s a great guy, so we’ll probably end up as roommates for the rest of our college career.”

It sounds like it will be fun, especially when you hear the two talk about each other.

“It was pretty good having him here, “ Smith said of McKenzie as the two were getting ready to depart the Stars development camp that was held in Frisco earlier this month. “He was kind of hitting me at the end. I think he was the only guy head hunting out there at the end during the three-on-three.”

McKenzie denied it, offering proof there was no head hunting.

“No,” McKenzie responded when told of Smith’s comments. “His head would be off if I was head hunting.”

More on McKenzie and the bantering between the two Miami teammates in a future update.

SPONSORED HEADLINES