Monday, September 7, 2009

09/10 Men's Previews: #7 Brendan Smith


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 190
Hometown: Mimico, Ontario
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: St. Michael’s (OPJHL) in 06/07

NHL Considerations: 1st round draft pick of Detroit (27th overall) in the 2007 NHL Draft.

08/09 Stats: 31 games, 9-14-23, +3, 75 PIM
07/08 Stats: 22 games, 2-10-12, -5, 26 PIM

09/10 Role: 2nd pairing, 1st PP unit

08/09 Recap: Brendan rebounded in a big way from a freshman year shortened by injury and riddled w/ defensive mistakes. As a sophomore, his defensive game definitely improved, while his offensive game exploded in the 1st half of the season. W/ All-American Jamie McBain running the 1st PP unit, Brendan flourished, scoring all nine of his goals on the PP. Unfortunately, his season was again marred by injury early in 2009 when a cheap slash by a N. Michigan player broke his wrist. Earlier in that game he had scored two PP goals. Brendan came back later in the season, but the chemistry w/ McBain was largely gone as Jake Gardiner had jumped into that void. Overall, it was a step in the right direction for Brendan.

Biggest Strength: Offense, offense, offense. As a converted forward, Brendan showed last season that he can be a force in the offensive zone especially on the PP. His slap shot is a rocket, and should continue to translate into goals this season.

Biggest Weakness: Brendan’s defensive game still has a lot of room for improvement. He plays a good defensive stick, and that saved his ass a few times last season, but overall he needs to get better. The difference between his freshman and sophomore seasons was huge in his own end. Also, almost every interview I’ve ever seen or read w/ this kid is always about when he is going to join the Red Wings organization. How about you worry about the business at hand first, if your game does the proper talking, there will be no need to worry about when the Red Wings call.

09/10 Thoughts: Brendan should be a key component of the Badger offense this season, especially on the PP. It will be interesting to see who Eaves pairs together, but I liked Chuck’s idea of pairing Brendan w/ Cody Goloubef. They played together in the past, and Cody is nothing but solid in all aspects of the game, to compliment Brendan’s offensive upside and occasional defensive shortcomings. Injury is still a big deal for Brendan, he needs to prove he can play a whole season, and the Badgers need him on the ice for his offensive upside. It’s hard to put a prediction on Brendan’s season (I went conservative), if he finds the right chemistry and the PP units click he could have a HUGE season.

Prediction: 29 games, 10-16-26*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com