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On July 4th, 2013, Tyler Seguin, Rick Peverly, and Ryan Button were traded to the Dallas Stars for Loui Ericksson, Matt Frasor, a top prospect in Joe Morrow, and a no-name prospect. This no-name prospect ended up being Boston’s 7th player, Reilly Smith. Often, these blockbuster trades included no-name prospect for salary cap reasons or just a team cutting its losses. Smith falls under the latter of those two circumstances. So, how did Smith turn his career around to become a crucial point-getter and a key addition to this Bruins line-up?
In 2009, Smith was drafted in the 3rd round (69th overall) by the Dallas Stars. Smith went on to play 3 years of college hockey for the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks. In his third year, Smith became a Hobey Baker (College Hockey’s Heisman) finalist, made it to the Frozen Four, and finished his collegiate career with 122 points in 121 total games. Smith could have even played against his brother, Brendan Smith, in the national championship, if Reilly Smith won in his semifinal game (some strange deja-vu).
Smith went on to play for the Dallas Stars in the shortened 2012-2013 (lockout) season. Smith had a disappointing 3 goals and 6 assists in 37 games, and did not become the scorer Dallas was hoping for. Smith became expendable to the Stars, as they sought to be rid of him. Initially, the Bruins wanted Alex Chiasson in the Seguin trade, but the Stars refused. Smith became the throwaway player in the Seguin trade. The Bruins, just for the sake of another skater, took Smith, and Smith was hardly mentioned when the trade news broke out.
Smith was not even supposed to make the Bruins’ roster in the preseason. The consensus believed Nick Johnson was going to make the team after his hot start. Coach Claude Julien and his staff kept Smith to play alongside Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg on the Bruins’ third line. Smith’s play was proficient, by way of lighting up the score sheet, which proved Coach Julien’s decision was the right one.
Smith’s career changed relatively overnight as Kelly and Ericksson fell to the side with injures. At this point, the Smith and the 1st line were the only offenses forces the Bruins had. Smith was placed on the 2nd line with Brad Marchand, a dynamic yet slumping goal scorer, and Patrice Bergeron, the all-around best forward and Selke award enthusiast who was not having his best year offensively. This line change was the catalyst into the 2nd line’s very successful season. The line combined for 166 points with an overall plus/minus of 107. Smith’s numbers skyrocketed compared to his rookie slump, as he finished the season with 20 goals and 31 assists in 82 games played. Smith deservedly won the 7th player award, and has turned out to be one of Boston’s most exciting and up-and-coming players. As of this date, Smith has a goal and an assist in 3 career playoff games (all with the Bruins), and Smith will need to continue to perform if the Bruins are to make a deep playoff run.