Since the present is vomit inducing, let's look into the future!
Last June the Colorado Avalanche selected a 5'10" 162 lbs newly 19 year-old named Colin Smith as their final pick in round 7 (192nd overall) at the NHL draft. Shrugging off other rating systems, the Avs eyed the previously undrafted Edmonton native as a player worth taking a flyer for [note: late round picks aren't really a gamble, more of a impulse buy]. Smith was actually available for last year's draft by just a couple months, and none of the big clubs saw much there worth taking and the skinny little fella went home undrafted.
Like a spurned lover determined to fight back and spark jealousy, Smith returned to his junior team not with an Elliot Smith mix tape of depression inducing introspection and "woe is me" weariness, but fueled with an aggro-laced iPod playlist of nü-metal and Wu Tang Clan [plus a Bonnie Raitt song that he swears his mom added - whatever dude].
Colin has gotten off to a blistering start for the Kamloops Blazers notching 5 points in his first two games. In his first game of the season he threw down 1 goal while assisting on 3 others. His second game he grabbed another assist. The Blazers take on Victoria tomorrow night, so it will be interesting to see if the youngster continues his torrid pace.
Now sample size and boredom with the NHL notwithstanding, yes it is premature to examine two games in detail, but this is what a lockout means. Thanks Gary! So let's just get to know this late round pick a bit, shall we?
MHH member Zandar gave us a nice little piece on Smith from draft day. Among other insight, Zandar mentioned that last season Smith was finally able to break into a more prominent role on his team and thrived with the new responsibility and additional ice time by putting up the best numbers of his young career: 35 goals, 50 assists, for 85 points in 75 games - good for 2nd on the team and 14th in the WHL. Smith tacked on 10 points in 11 playoff games. But his lack of size likely turned off any suitors. By most accounts, that's the only knock on the kid: he's small.
Scouting report: Smith is a solid two way player who spends time on both the penalty kill and the power play. He has obvious offensive skill and is often compared to Tyler Ennis, but that comparison is due more likely to their slight frames than equal skill levels. Colin excels when the play is moving as he has a top speed that is tough to match, however his work in the corners and in front of the net reveals his small size and lack of man strength. That being said, he does not shy away from physicality by any stretch. He'll drop the gloves without hesitation and openly initiates contact - it's just that he usually comes out on the losing end of those battles (see highlight video below: you'll notice he's on his ass after most of the goals he scores, but so what, he's scoring goals! It also means his going to the tough areas and is willing to pay the price. Maybe you prefer Tyler Arnason?).
Smith was named an Alternate Captain this season and won the team award last season for "Most Dedicated Player", and was nominated for WHL "Scholastic Player of the Year". Smith is a smart, hard working kid eager to prove naysayers wrong. In fact, the Blazers website lists Smith at 5'11" and 175 lbs - that's a full inch taller and 12 lbs heavier than his draft info. So either the medical team in Kamloops needs to have their licenses checked, or the kid is serious about improving himself and making the jump to the next level. Another year of seasoning in the rough and tumble WHL will serve him well.
Avalancheprospects.com prognosticates that Colin Smith could "end up being one of the steals of the 2012 draft". While a lot would have to go Smith's way, including about 20 more pounds of muscle, the potential is there for the Avs most recent draft pick to continue to beat the odds.