Givani Smith has re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for a two-year extension.
Smith is the last of the Red Wings restricted free agents for the 2020-21 offseason.
Smith could very well get his first full season as a Red Wings this year. Last season, he spent a majority of his time with the Grand Rapids Griffins, scoring nine goals and six assists in 25 games. However, Smith did get some chances to illustrate his skills at the NHL level; he played 16 games in Detroit this year, scoring a goal and three assist.
At 23 years old, Smith is young enough to fit Detroit’s rebuild schedule. The next few years will decide if he deserves a spot on the roster when the Red Wings are contending.
His two-year contract fits the theme of Detroit’s other signings; reasonable contracts that only last a few years. At this point in Detroit’s rebuild, Steve Yzerman and the rest of management is looking for results. With such short contracts, the team has the ability to decide whether or not a player has a role in the future of the team.
With the departure of bottom-six players like Darren Helm and Luke Glendening, there is now room on the team’s third and fourth lines for players like Smith. Based on his inclusion on the protection list for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, it seems Yzerman expects Smith to contribute sooner than later.
In his short stints on the main roster, Smith has consistently found a place in Detroit’s bottom-six, where he’ll almost certainly be penciled in to the start the 2021-22 season. Smith looked very comfortable in that role last season, possessing decent offensive drive, solid defensive skills and most notably, a physical play style that keeps opponents in check. Those skills were perfectly illustrated against the Florida Panthers last season, where Smith earned a goal, an assists and a fight – a “Gordie Howe hat trick”.