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Welcome to Pittsburgh, Reilly Smith

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of The Hockey Writers.


The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Kyle Dubas just a little less than a month ago as President of Hockey Operations and asked him to take the wheel of a ship that was sailing into rough waters. This offseason may end up being one of the more critical times in franchise history. Lots of questions are on the minds of Penguins' fans like, "What free agents will the team sign? Who will be the starting goalie?" Amongst many other issues that the Penguins face, Dubas has his work cut out for him.


Then yesterday, Dubas made his first big move with the Penguins on the afternoon of draft day, trading for Vegas winger, Reilly Smith, while only giving up a 3rd round pick. Dubas said he would look at trades with teams that could not afford their players or wanted to create cap space, and he found his first interested party in Vegas. The Knights had very little wiggle room under the cap after winning their first Stanley Cup and wanted to unload Smith’s 5 million dollar contract and use the cap room to re-sign winger, Ivan Barbashev.


Smith, for all intents and purposes, will take the spot of free agent winger, Jason Zucker, who will likely leave the Pens later this week when the free agent frenzy begins on July 1. Zucker made 5 million dollars last year and should be due a substantial raise in the free agent marketplace, pricing him out of the Penguins' locker room.


For Smith’s part, he will be a top-6 forward for the Penguins and a huge part of either the Crosby or Malkin line. The similarities between Zucker and Smith don’t end there. Smith is only 9 months older than Zucker, and had 26 goals and 30 assists last year while Zucker tallied 27 goals and 21 assists. Both played in 78 games in 2022-23 and are 12-year veterans of the league. Smith has stayed healthier than Zucker during that stretch, outplaying him 764 to 628 in games played.


More importantly, Smith shoots left-handed, plays right wing and can be moved to a third line where he excelled in Vegas. He can play in any situation and is the type of player a coach trusts in any aspect of the game. He’s strong enough to win puck battles and will be useful to the Pens on the penalty kill. At times, he can be a threat to score shorthanded and seen spot-work on the powerplay in a pinch.


For those waiting to grade Kyle Dubas on his first few transactions, this is one to watch. Dubas traded a third round pick for Smith and in return, obtained a complete winger at a similar salary to Zucker with a near-exact skill set—and one who’s under contract through the 2024-2025 season. Smith’s addition to the penalty kill unit and recent cup experience on the biggest of hockey’s stages are sure to help this Penguins team for the next two seasons.


Reilly Smith

Right Wing

Born Apr 1 1991 -- Mimico, ONT

Height 6.01 -- Weight 185 -- Shoots L


Selected by Dallas Stars round 3 #69 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft


--- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ----

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2007-08 St. Michael's Buzzers OPJHL 13 2 7 9 22

2008-09 St. Michael's Buzzers OJHL 49 27 48 75 44

2009-10 Miami University (Ohio) CCHA 44 8 12 20 24

2010-11 Miami University (Ohio) CCHA 38 28 26 54 18

2011-12 Miami University (Ohio) CCHA 39 30 18 48 22

2011-12 Dallas Stars NHL 3 0 0 0 2 -- -- -- -- --

2012-13 Texas Stars AHL 45 14 21 35 20 7 0 4 4 0

2012-13 Dallas Stars NHL 37 3 6 9 8

2013-14 Boston Bruins NHL 82 20 31 51 14 12 4 1 5 0

2014-15 Boston Bruins NHL 81 13 27 40 20

2015-16 Florida Panthers NHL 82 25 25 50 31 6 4 4 8 0

2016-17 Florida Panthers NHL 80 15 22 37 17 -- -- -- -- --

2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights NHL 67 22 38 60 24 20 5 17 22 10

2018-19 Vegas Golden Knights NHL 74 19 34 53 14 7 1 5 6 0

2019-20 Vegas Golden Knights NHL 71 27 27 54 20 20 5 9 14 8

2020-21 Vegas Golden Knights NHL 53 14 11 25 18 19 3 7 10 4

2021-22 Vegas Golden Knights NHL 56 16 22 38 8 -- -- -- -- --

2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights NHL 78 26 30 56 16 22 4 10 14 14

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NHL Totals 764 200 273 473 192 106 26 53 79 36

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