With the NHL free agency period just a day a way, the Boston Bruins are not expected to make any major moves. However, they will be busy trying to lock up the many free agents who will go to the market tomorrow. Jarome Iginla and Torey Krug are obvious targets for the Bruins’ front office, but signing Reilly Smith to a long-term deal is just as crucial.
The Miami University standout came up big for the Bruins while skating alongside captain Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The trio meshed well, helping Smith net 20 goals, while dishing out 31 assists in his first full season in the NHL. Reilly ranked sixth overall for the Bruins in points throughout the regular season, while adding another five in his 12 playoff appearances.
At 23 years old, Smith has lived up to his potential. Acquired in the trade that sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars, Smith filled in for the Bruins immediately.
Although he may not have top class speed, or even speed compared to Peverley or Seguin, Smith’s shiftiness allows him to retain the puck and make smooth passes to his linemates. You could see the chemistry building with Bergeron in the middle flank, and that is why it is so important to secure Smith early in the free agency period.
Obviously, Iginla is going to be a hot item on the market, especially with several teams already interested in the veteran. While GM Peter Chiarelli has stated the Iggy is going to be the No. 1 priority, that is no guarantee that the Bruins’ leading goal scorer last season will remain in Boston.
Smith has proven that he has developed into a player who can endure an entire season, and consistently produce night in and night out. That is why it is so important that Chiarelli locks him up early.