Red Wings winger Givani Smith hasn’t had a very good start to his 2021-2022 campaign, and Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen discusses the literally impactful forward’s lack of an impact made upon the Red Wings’ roster:
Smith’s game isn’t together. He’s been a disappointment on a team that has started to show encouraging signs, even if it is still in the early stages, of maturing into a competitive team.
The reason Smith is a disappointment is that he is capable of making himself an important piece of the Red Wings’ puzzle. The Red Wings need his strength, physical play. They need his protection. They need his work around the net.
He has the potential to be a valuable third line player who is miserable to play against and can score 12 to 14 goals per season. You win with players who perform like that. Scouts have told me for the last couple of years that no one liked to play against him in the American League. He can be an intimidating force.
“Unfortunately for him, early in the season he took a penalty a game,” Blashill said last week. “It culminated in the first Montreal game. He took a penalty and I ended up sitting him. I think it had been five straight games with a penalty. What that does is take away … you don’t want to go to the box, don’t want to take a penalty, and he’s maybe playing a little more careful. Obviously, Givani can’t do that either, so he’s got to find a balance of being able to play really hard, get underneath other guys’ skins without taking penalties. ”
Smith, 23, has played just over five minutes in each of his last two games against Edmonton and Washington. He’s averaging about eight minutes per game in the 12 games he played. Today, he’s playing on a line with Joe Veleno and Sam Gagner.
Continued; if Smith was still waiver-exempt, the Red Wings would just send him down for a conditioning stint, but they can’t do that due to Smith’s pro experience, and that means that big #48 has to figure things out on his own…