Skip to main content

Florida Panthers' centre Jerred Smithson

Associated Press

Jerred Smithson to the rescue?

With two key centres lost to injury, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Smithson to a one-year deal late Wednesday afternoon, promoting him from the Toronto Marlies where he had been playing on a pro tryout deal.

To make room for Smithson, they returned Trevor Smith to the Marlies.

Story continues below advertisement

Smithson, 34, isn't going to wow anyone with his finesse, but he is big (6-foot-3 and 210 pounds) has played nearly 600 NHL games, can win faceoffs and has played a lot on the penalty kill in the past.

With both Dave Bolland (lacerated tendon in ankle) and Tyler Bozak (hamstring strain) out long term, however, the Leafs are desperate for bodies that can fill those kinds of minutes.

Expect him to slot in on Toronto's fourth line between Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr beginning on Friday against the New Jersey Devils.

Most of Smithson's career was spent with the Nashville Predators, where he became a Barry Trotz favourite as a big centre who was good in the dressing room and willing to fill a checking role.

"He comes to work every game, and he gives you those intangible type of minutes," Trotz told The Tennessean newspaper back in 2011.

His numbers have tailed off sharply in recent years and he's bounced around, playing in both Florida and Edmonton the past two seasons. Possession wise, he won't help the Leafs, as he has been in the red there in soft minutes in recent years.

Where he'll be an upgrade on Smith is in the faceoff circle, as he typically wins 55 per cent or more of  his draws, something that will earn brownie points with coach Randy Carlyle.

Story continues below advertisement

The best comparison of his game is probably to that of former Leaf David Steckel, who Carlyle used plenty when he first came to Toronto.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.