Ty Smith poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the 17th overall pick to the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22, 2018, at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

USA TODAY Images

Devils Land Defenseman Ty Smith In 1st Round Of NHL Draft

June 22, 2018 - 8:10 pm
Categories: 

By WFAN.com

The Devils are hoping their first-round draft pick Friday night, Canadian defenseman Ty Smith, plays bigger than his 5-foot-10 frame.

New Jersey selected Smith with the 17th overall pick. He was a WHL First All-Star Team selection and WHL Scholastic Player of the Year. In the 2017-18 season, the defenseman put up 14 goals and 59 assists in 69 games.

The 18-year-old is quick. Often underestimated because of his size, he can outplay players much larger than him, scouting reports say. He’s also regarded as a leader who any coach would want around his other players, and he has an NHL-level understanding of the game. Smith can make smooth transitions on the ice because of his hockey intelligence. He is known to be a quick learner and therefore has grown and developed as a player very rapidly.

MORE: Lichtenstein: Voters Made Right Call Awarding Hart Trophy To Taylor Hall

His size -- in addition to standing shorter than 6 feet, he weighs just 170 pounds -- is considered his biggest weakness. He needs time to develop physically, but also in some areas of play. However, since he is a quick learner, he should improve with time. Another concern with Smith, according to scouting reports, is his inability to fully commit to being a defensive playmaker.

"It's pretty special," Smith said of being drafted by the Devils. "I mean, growing up you watch hockey, and I kind of watch the draft every year ever since I was a kid and watch all the guys do it in the first, and it's kind of like a dream come true today.”

The Devils ended a five-year drought by reaching the playoffs this past season. They were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the first round.