by J.T. Toth
Photo of Will Smith on the ice courtesy of USNTDP (Rena Laverty / USA Hockey’s NTDP).
The 2023 NHL Draft will be here before you know it, and Draft 412 will preview some of the prospects who will be probable first round picks. Draft 412 will go over the strengths and weaknesses of each prospect and where they should land in the NHL Draft.
Name- Will Smith
Team- USNTDP U18
HT/WT- 6’0” 181 lbs.
Home – Lexington,MA
NHL defensemen will not look forward to seeing Will Smith skate at them one-on-one in the near future. Besides good speed, his stick handling abilities are near the top of the class and he has made an ankle or two twist with his inside-outside moves.
A crafty playmaker who uses speed and vision to set up teammates on a consistent basis, Smith is one of the best slot passers in the class. He’s a dangerous weapon behind the net who dictates the speed of the game.
His shooting is slightly behind his playmaking abilities, but he is improving each season. He’s learned to stickhandle, weave, and shoot very fluidly and will catch goalies off their angles regularly.
Smith is not very physical and like many other 18-year-old prospects, he is suspect in his own zone. He will need to add 10-15 lbs. of muscle before reaching the NHL. His lack of commitment on defense should improve as he heads to Boston College next season with his linemates, Gabriel Perreault and Ryan Leonard (both of whom are expected to be drafted in round one of the NHL Draft).
Will Smith should be the first American off the board in the draft. His playmaking skills and quick shot remind Draft 412 of a Mika Zibanejad type player. Draft 412 believes Smith will go in the Top 10 and after some quality time at Boston College, he will be a regular for years in the NHL.
Round 1- Top 10 / #6 on Draft 412 big board.
Headshot of Will Smith courtesy of USNTDP.