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Dustin L. Nelson The Hockey Writers

Published on Tuesday, August 16, 2016





Avs Sign Ben Smith

While they may be without a coach, the Colorado Avalanche aren’t done rounding out their roster. Tuesday, they announced the signing of free agent forward Ben Smith to a one-year contract. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Smith has bounced around a good deal over the last few seasons, spending time with the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs, while also taking some games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and San Jose Barracuda.

He’s generally been deployed on a depth line with severe defensive deployment. But even using score, zone and venue adjustments available via Corsica, his relative possession numbers are negative. However, he has not been a total drag for teams, even if his offensive upside is limited. He scored two goals and six points in 22 games last season. The prior year he scored seven goals and 14 points in 80 games.

His value is in his ability to take defensive deployments and play the system. For Colorado, though the coaching situation makes things murky, he could be a good pickup. They’re a team that could use some defensive-minded forwards capable of insulating the top-line players and making up for a very thin blue line.

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