It's only fitting that the first post of What The Puck (henceforth known as WTP) is about Jerred Smithson. "Jerred who?", you say? Well, yes I will grant you the fact that he's no Wayne Gretsky, Steve Yzerman, Sidney Crosby et al. but everyone has one of these players. Those unobtrusive, fourth-line (sometimes third-line) guys that put in 110% every shift, every game and go virtually unnoticed. Jerred is that player for me. He's great on the PK and he has a pretty decent face-off win percentage. He's one of the guys that really got to me last season. I am always surprised to discover which players end up standing out during games and I found myself watching him a lot. Now the 2006-2007 season however, not so much. I actually remember thinking that he had a lot to work on over the summer if he really wanted to show the coaches that he was serious. And to my surprise and delight, he did just that.
I don't know if it was his on-ice improvement from one season to the next that sealed the deal but I'd like to think it played a part in their consideration. His current contract wasn't even up until the end of the coming season so I applaud the Predators organization for again showing that they believe in the players we already have on our roster by working on deals before it is even really time to do so.
Jerred had a career year last year with 7 goals and 9 assists. While 16 points is a mere fraction of total points the big shots tend to rack up, this fourth-line center played some of his best hockey last season. Now he has three more seasons to work on doubling, maybe even tripling those totals. Okay, okay...so I might be reaching to say that he's a 21 goal scoring player but a girl can certainly dream, can't she?