BOSTON — Bruins winger Reilly Smith was one of the four players the team acquired from the Dallas Stars in the Tyler Seguin trade, and he’s made a positive impact in his 145 games with the Original Six club.
The Bruins signed Smith to a two-year contract extension that carries a salary cap hit of $3.425 million. His current deal expires at the end of this season.
Smith has tallied 86 points (32 goals, 54 assists) in his Bruins career, including a career-high 20 goals last season. Most of Smith’s tenure in Boston has included him playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and the three of them have formed one of the best two-way lines in the NHL.
Smith has struggled a bit this season with 12 goals in 63 games, but in fairness, every player on this Bruins roster has battled inconsistency since the campaign began.
“I need to have a little more patience in front of the net,” Smith said. When your team is struggling to score goals, your first instinct is to shoot the puck as fast as you can, but there’s times where if you have a little extra patience you can make an extra play and something a little easier. That’s one thing I’m trying to focus on while our team goes through this stretch.”
“There was a period where I think we were all struggling, including Reilly,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday. “But he’s a 20-goal scorer and he’s a very smart player. He manages the power play. He’s one of our leading scorers and he’s a good young player.”
Of course, any multi-year contract is going to carry some level of pressure to perform, but as a player who’s been on short-term deals his whole career, the increased expectations shouldn’t be a huge issue for Smith.
“I think I welcome it,” Smith said. “There’s probably a little more pressure, but as a hockey player and playing in this organization, and at this level, you welcome that every day.”
Finalizing this extension now as opposed to the offseason will help Smith focus on improving his game and preparing for the 2015-16 campaign instead of worrying about his contractual status, which is what he dealt with prior to this season.
“It was a pretty stressful time in the summer having to sit out of (training) camp for a little bit,” Smith said. “I’m glad I won’t have to do that for the next couple of years.”
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