BUFFALO, NY — The Red Wings selected winger Givani Smith at 46th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Smith brought his entire family, and I mean entire family along with him for the trip. Cousins, uncles, aunts, mom and dad. When the 205-pound Toronto product stepped to the podium to talk to the media, he was donning a smile from ear-to-ear.
When I asked about what it will take for him to develop into an impact NHL forward, Smith said he’s been working extremely hard on his acceleration, and his skating overall. Smith is touted as a power forward type player who plays heavy, and can get in the opposition’s face. He’s former teammates with Red Wings prospect Tyler Bertuzzi, who he displayed excitement over being reunited with him - "I miss that guy."
The Red Wings have been interested in Smith for quite some times it seems, as they’ve been meeting with him dating all the way back into the 2015-2016 regular season.
When asked about an NHL player he looks up to, and models his game after, the answer was quick - Wayne Simmonds. "The way he plays his game, he’s a force on the ice. He scores goals right in front of the net, and that’s where I like to score. He’s a good skater, he finishes checks, and he’s not scared to fight."
While Givani Smith isn’t exactly a top-six model player, the Red Wings have been notorious for implementing those "sandpaper" players alongside skilled playmakers. Smith wasn’t ranked high in many scouting services, but neither was Tyler Bertuzzi - One of the Red Wings’ top prospects. What Detroit just acquired was a readymade NHL frame, with upside of being a power forward who can score goals and be utilized as a net front guy on the power-play.