The Predators announced on Wednesday morning that the club has signed Jerred Smithson for another two years. The contract is worth $1.6 million and the forward will make $800,000 during both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
Smithson has been an integral part of Nashville’s penalty kill unit and is regularly on a line assigned the task of shutting down the opposition’s top lines.
In Nashville’s 42 games this season, the 31 year old has registered four goals and four assists for eight points. He is ranked eighth in the League in face-off winning percentage at 58.7 percent. Smithson is also ranked ninth among League forwards in average shorthanded ice time. In fact, Smithson has led all Predators forwards in this category for the last four seasons.
The Vernon B.C. native signed with Nashville as a free agent in July 2004. Smithson has played in 404 games with the Predators. Since entering the League in 2002, Smithson has notched 34 goals and 35 assists for 79 points.
Originally posted on Predlines
In the NHL, teams can win games on the strength of their power play. The penalty kill, likewise, can keep a team in games. For the Nashville Predators, while their penalty kill has improved steadily from the start of the season, the power play has gone in the other direction. Through 21 games, Nashville has scored 9 power play goals in 78 opportunities — but two of them came Friday afternoon when the team was already losing 4-0 in the third period to the Wild.
It is too early to know if the late efforts from Nashville on Friday will act as a turning point in sparking the Predators offense. But one thing is for certain, when you struggle to score goals at even strength, the man advantage can be a real difference maker. And the Predators have struggled to score goals as of late, scoring just 3 times in the last three games.
When asked about the Predators scoring woes, Coach Barry Trotz said “One of the biggest mistakes that the Nashville Predators make is when we say well we got to score lots of goals. All of a sudden we are not Nashville Predator-like and therefore we will lose 6-4 or something like that. That’s not the way we play. Our team identity is that we play solid team defense as a group and piggy back some of our offense off of that.”