If Lloydminster Minor Hockey product Ty Smith is feeling edgy heading into the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he’s not showing it.
“I’m not losing sleep or anything like that,” the 18-year-old defenceman says. “I’m just going to try and enjoy it and try not to look at everything. I’m just going to try and enjoy everything instead of worrying about it.”
If his two full seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs are any indication, being cool under pressure is his calling card. He has ice water running in his veins.
“He’s got a high, high hockey IQ,” says Chiefs head coach Dan Lambert of the 2015 HN Player of the Year for Alberta. “He has a great understanding of the game. And he’s a great leader.
“For a 17-year-old, he’s probably as close to a true pro as you’re going to get.”
Playing this past WHL season at the age of 17, the 5-foot-10, 176-pound blueliner who played Bantam in Lloydminster and Delta, B.C., turned 18 in late March. He’s seen time in a Team Canada sweater at the U18 level.
“Hockey sense,” Smith answers when asked of the key elements in his game that put him on 14 goals and 59 assists in 69 games this past season in Spokane. “Playmaking abilities. Skating. I guess my character is something I probably get credit for.
“Those are a few of the things I hope to bring to the club that drafts me.”
Slotted at No. 19 by the International Scouting Services (ISS) in their May 30 report, Smith’s draft stock is rising to the point where he could go No. 10 to the Edmonton Oilers or No. 12 to the New York Islanders. Wherever he goes, coach Lambert is confident Smith will make an impact.
“He’s going to be a great first-pass defenceman,” Lambert says. “He’s going to be a guy who can play against everybody’s top players because of his ability to defend and use his ability to skate and use his edges.
“I truly believe he’s going to be a guy that, whoever picks him is going to be very satisfied with their pick.”
Smith will be in Dallas for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft proceedings June 22, and is looking forward to the experience.
“It’ll be pretty special. It’s something you look forward to as a kid,” Smith says. “Being able to share it with my family will be that much more special.”
WHL Spokane Chiefs
Weight: 176 lbs.
2017-18 stats: 14g, 59a in 69 games
Selected: by Spokane Chiefs in first round (first overall) of 2015 WHL Bantam Draft
HockeyNow Player of the Year for Alberta in 2015
Played Bantam for the Lloydminster Heat of the AMBHL, where he scored 16 goals and 44 assists in 33 games in the 2013-14 season. Played at the Delta (B.C.) Hockey Academy the following season and has played for Team Canada U18.
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