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The Malik Report

Season Outlook For Brendan Smith

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

A puck-rushing offensive defenseman in college and the AHL, Smith's transition to a more stay-at-home style in the NHL has been bumpy. He's experienced puck management issues and made his share of mistakes, not unlike many young defensemen. But he's still inexperienced and should improve over time.

He's a tremendous skater and has offensive potential. He might be able to help the power play, but he probably won't get that opportunity because the team wants him to focus on improving defensively. He is not particularly physical but sometimes plays with an edge. After a rough start last season, he settled down a bit in the second half.

Being paired with Niklas Kronwall during Jonathan Ericsson's absence due to injuries helped Smith. Ericsson likely will be reunited with Kronwall, putting Smith back on the third pairing with Jakub Kindl.

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Comments

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Man, this type of profile just accentuates the problem with the Wings not having improved their defense.  While he need to improve defensively in general, it doesn’t help anyone that they’re taking a natural offensive defenseman and trying to change him into something he isn’t.

Worse is that it’s the exact same thing that happened with Quincey.  They took a 30-point per year offensive defenseman and asked him to replace Brad Stuart.

Nevermind missing out on the likes of Niskanen, Boyle and Ehrhoff, if Detroit had found a way to grab a reliable, physical, defensive defenseman then they would be able to let a guy like Smith focus on what he does best, maybe even giving him a chance to play on the PP.  And if that defenseman were to be paired with Smith it might even help Smith improve his defensive game, allowing him to not worry as much about making mistakes because he would know that his partner could help cover him.

Posted by Garth on 08/26/14 at 10:03 AM ET

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Right on, Garth.

What I dislike about this article is that Khan ignores how the advanced stats actually show Smith to be standing out from the rest of the defense.

I do agree it is stupid to try to change someone into something he’s not.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 08/26/14 at 10:26 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I do agree it is stupid to try to change someone into something he’s not.

Said Yzerman to Bowman…oh wait…

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 08/26/14 at 12:16 PM ET

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Geez Garth. You nailed it right there.

Now that you mention it. That IS what happened with Q.

Not only Smith, but I think you just pegged what’s ailing Kindl.

Sure. defensemen are supposed to play defense. But is there too much pressure on them to change the way they play that causes them to make mistakes? Lot’s of mistakes. Lots and lotsa.

3 offensive type d-men who have served up some pretty crappy moments in the last couple of years.

Posted by leftwing on 08/26/14 at 12:39 PM ET

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If I was running this team I’d be making every attempt possible to move Smith while other GM’s still think he’s got the potential to end up as a top 4 D-man.  It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the league comes to the same conclusion that anyone who’s watched the Wings over the past two years should already know.  For all the “potential” that Smith might have, he’s just not smart enough to be successful at the NHL level.  Brain cramps and stupid penalties aside (he’s still young afterall), this guy just doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to do things the easy way when it comes to getting out of his own end.  Comparing him to say, a guy like DeKeyser, and it becomes very clear that he’s not on his way to becoming a top 4 D-man on a Cup contender.  Also, like Q, he’s just standing in the way of potentially much better D in Grand Rapids (Sproul, Marchenko, Backman, Ouellet).  Holland should be trying to package him up with something else to try and land a Boychuk or maybe even a Myers.

Posted by Wise1 on 08/26/14 at 03:26 PM ET

PDXWing's avatar

It takes time to be a good offensive d man in the NHL. The guy doesn’t even have 2 full seasons under his belt, so let’s cut the shit about him not being smart enough. The kid had excelled at every level and there’s every indication that he will be at least a #4 guy. He already is. He played well with Kronner against top opposition, FFS.

Posted by PDXWing on 08/26/14 at 08:35 PM ET

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Posted by Wise1 on 08/26/14 at 04:26 PM ET

If I was running any other team in the league I would pray that you were Detroit’s GM because giving up on a guy like Brendan Smith is exactly the type of thing that would absolutely come back to bite you on the ass.

In fact, it’d probably be better for Smith to have Holland deal him to someone who will allow him to properly develop into the defenseman he can be.

Posted by Garth on 08/26/14 at 08:45 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.