New Jersey Devils Top-10 prospects under 24

Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Ty Smith, Canada. New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Ty Smith (19), Defenseman, 2018 1st round (18th overall)

Ty Smith has been nothing short of dynamic for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs the past two seasons. Since becoming the New Jersey Devils first-round draft pick in 2018 he’s kicked it up another notch. Last year he turned into the reincarnation of Bobby Orr with seven goals and an otherworldly 62 assists in 57 regular-season games. Needless to say, Smith is a puck passing wizard.

Of course half the battle is getting the puck up the ice to be in a position to set up a score. This is where Smith is at his best. He can get up to full speed in just a few strides yet can still change his direction easily once he’s there. In almost a direct contrast to his rocket-like speed, Smith is very patient with the puck, whether it’s in finding an open teammate or creating space for himself. He combines those abilities with outstanding vision and nice shot so that defenders can’t choose between playing him or the pass, he can beat them with both.

Smith’s play in his own end of the ice is spot on. He’s rarely out of position and keeps an active stick. If the defenseman has a weakness, it’s that he’s an undersized at 5-11, 180 pounds. He’s not afraid to fight in front of the net but lacks the bulk to be effective.

The recent arrival of Subban means that the Devils don’t need to rush Smith to the NHL. He has another year of junior eligibility, so look for him to head back to Spokane so New Jersey won’t have to burn a year of his entry-level contract. A good showing in training camp, however, could earn Smith a nine-game audition with the big club to start the season.