2018 NHL draft prospect profile #11: Ty Smith

KELOWNA, BC - MARCH 03: Ty Smith #24 of the Spokane Chiefs skates to the bench against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on March 3, 2018 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
KELOWNA, BC - MARCH 03: Ty Smith #24 of the Spokane Chiefs skates to the bench against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on March 3, 2018 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

Defencemen are the talk of the town in 2018. And today, we present the very best from the Western Hockey League. Here is everything you need to know about our number eleven prospect in the draft, Ty Smith.

Reputations carry weight in this league. The major junior leagues within the CHL have earned associations with certain positions. For the last couple of decades, the Western Hockey League is known as a defenceman factory.

For this year’s draft, their top representative just misses The Canuck Way‘s top ten. Lloydminster’s own Ty Smith is intriguing for many reasons. He’s undersized, but skates well and has sick hands. Smith may be one of the smartest players in this draft and his abilities help him dictate the pace on the ice.

But his placement on the list differs from everything we have done to this point. The first 20 profiles covered players in the first round that could be picked up if the Vancouver Canucks had additional selections. Smith is the first prospect that is in what I would call the range of reasonable selections at seventh overall.

The Canucks are leaning towards picking a defenceman, or possibly trading the pick for an established young one. Regardless of what happens, Smith is is still an exciting prospect. He checks all the boxes for a modern NHL defenceman and bears little risk.

The stats rundown

*Counting stats provided by EliteProspects

Height: 178 cm/5’10”

Weight: 77 kg/170 lbs

Birthdate: March 24, 2000

Position: Defence

Handedness: Left

Team (league): Spokane Chiefs (WHL)







#11 by Bob McKenzie (April rankings)

#19 by Craig Button

#10 by Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects)


Smith finished second among all WHL defencemen in points, just losing out to veteran defender David Quenneville. His Spokane Chiefs were relatively strong this season, having the fifth highest goals for percentage (54.25).

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However, Smith was even better, carrying a GF% of 63.27. Furthermore, Smith was a key offensive driver for the Chiefs, carrying a relative GF% of 18.16. His stats excel in all situations, including special teams. 27 of his points were with the man advantage, managed well by his quick feet and terrific hands.

During the WHL playoffs, Smith picked up seven points in as many games. He was also named captain for Team Canada’s U18 team at the World Juniors.

Scouting reports

Justin Blades, Habs Eyes on the Prize:

"Smith is one of the most intelligent players in the draft class and has great awareness on the ice. The combination allows him to quickly assess his options and come up with a play to work the puck in the right direction. (…)On the defensive side, that means knowing where the opposition’s pressure is coming from, and which of his teammates are in the best position to help. (…)Often the pace he chooses in a slow one, and that may need to change at higher levels, but given his ability to quickly calculate good decisions on defence, there’s nothing to indicate he will find that to be a challenge. (…)In the offensive zone, his skill set really shines. His trickiness with the puck allows him to patrol the blue line, shifting the puck around to create a lane for a pass or a shot, and he is very good at getting the puck on target past the man tasked with shadowing him."

Ryan Pike, The Hockey Writers:

"The difference in Smith’s game from last season to this one boils down to a couple intermingled factors: experience and confidence. He was able to figure out what did and didn’t work on both sides of the puck as a rookie, and he’s adapted his game to compensate. As a result, he has a lot more confidence in terms of judging risk offensively and is much better at anticipating trouble defensively. (…)He skates really well. He passes well and has great vision of the other players on the ice. He’s more of a passer than a shooter, but he has a very effective shot. He’s a very able puck protector and moves it well in his own zone."

What we think

Usually, skilled defencemen don’t always have a high floor attached to them. Regarding Smith, that isn’t the case. His skills will translate well to the pro game. Yes, he is undersized, but he is not timid with the puck. There is a high level of control and mobility, but as you saw in the scouting reports, he tries to slow the game down a little too much.

Smith can avoid risks, but may lack elite upside due to his weaker shot. Furthermore, Smith does not lack much in all three zones. And that may be the biggest thing going against Smith, as well as some of the other defencemen in this range. Teams looking for game-breakers may not get that, which is why you see some variation in this year’s rankings.

Looking at the Canucks defence, it is clear they need a lot more speed and skill. And considering how barren the prospect pool is on defence, the club needs to take as many blueliners as they can get. Smith possesses many tools and has an impressive toolbox on top of that.

Next: 2018 NHL draft profile #12: Joel Farabee

At the end of the day, you are going to get a very good player in Ty Smith. Of course, he won’t alter a franchise overnight like a Rasmus Dahlin. But, you will likely get a player that shapes part of your top four group for years to come.