The Red Wings have re-signed Givani Smith:
DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings today re-signed right wing Givani Smith to a two-year contract.
Smith, 23, split his third professional campaign between Detroit and the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins in 2020-21. In 16 games with the Red Wings, Smith notched four points (1-3-4) and 21 penalty minutes, while registering 28 hits in 10:35 average time on ice. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger notched his first NHL multi-point game with a goal and an assist on Feb. 7 at Florida, while completing the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” by recording a fighting major in the game as well. Smith also played 25 games for Grand Rapids last season and ranked among team leaders with nine goals (3rd), six assists (T9th), 15 points (7th) and 54 penalty minutes (2nd). Over three full professional seasons, Smith has totaled seven points (3-4-7) and 30 penalty minutes in 37 NHL games with Detroit and 47 points (24-23-47) and 217 penalty minutes in 129 games with the Griffins.
The Toronto, Ontario, native was selected by Detroit in the second round (46th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League prior to turning professional. In 236 games with the Barrie Colts, Guelph Storm and Kitchener Rangers from 2014-18, Smith tallied 135 points (73-62-135) and 411 penalty minutes, leading the league in penalty minutes in consecutive seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17. In his final OHL campaign split between Guelph and Kitchener in 2017-18, Smith picked up 30 points (17-13-30) in 46 regular-season games before racking up 18 points (11-7-18) in 18 playoff games with Kitchener.
Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan is confirming…
The Detroit Red Wings agreed to terms with the last of their unsigned restricted free agents on Tuesday, signing Givani Smith to a two-year contract.
After going back and forth from Grand Rapids to Detroit the past two seasons, Smith is slotted for an NHL roster spot out of training camp. He no longer is waiver-exempt and the Red Wings, who protected him for the Seattle expansion draft, would not risk losing him on waivers to send him back to the AHL.
The big, abrasive winger (6-2, 210) is an aggressive forechecker and likes to go to the net and throw his weight around. He also doesn’t hesitate to drop the gloves, having racked up four fighting majors in only 37 career NHL games.
As is the Free Press’s Helene St. James…
The Detroit Red Wings reupped their toughness factor in re-signing big forward Givani Smith.
Smith speaks softly but carries a big stick and a bigger punch, one of the few on the team who will take an opponent to task for taking liberties with the Wings’ best players. This is his year to prove to the Wings he belongs in their lineup, and that was endorsed with a two-year contract announced Tuesday, a week before the start of camp. Smith, 23, will be a restricted free agent upon the contract’s expiration.
Smith appeared in 16 games with the Wings last season, recording a goal and three assists. His 15 points in 25 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins worked out to an AHL career-best .60 points-per-game average and demonstrated the strides Smith has made in improving his skating and ability to extend plays.
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman finished getting his 2021-22 roster in order by persuading Givani Smith to agree to a two-year contract. The club didn’t provide financial details
Smith, 23, is expected to get his chance to play regularly this season because he’s out of options. If the Red Wings try to send him back to the American Hockey League, he likely would be claimed. Scouts like his blend of toughness and skill.
Update #2: Ditto for the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Smith, 23, is expected to land a Wings’ roster spot, as he is no longer waiver exempt, meaning he’d be exposed to waivers and another team could claim him if the Wings were to waive him at the conclusion of the exhibition season.
In 16 games last season, Smith had one goal and three assists, most notably earning a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist and fighting major) in a Feb. 7 game in Florida.
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, the Wings feel Smith can provide a physical presence and effectiveness around the net that the lineup lacks. Smith showed a willingness to protect teammates last season, and also plays a rugged game that wears on opponents.
In 37 career NHL games, Smith has three goals and four assists.