Smaby, Matt

NHL Game Night 3/19: Capitals at Lightning

For some inexplicable reason, the Lightning decided to do a drive by for the third period.

WSH-5
TB-2

Mike McKenna allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss. He probably would've like to have had Washington's second goal back, and Washington's last goal came off a bad rebound. But the Lightning completely laid down in front of him in the third period, so it's not like McKenna is the one who takes the blame.

First Period
07:43 WSH Ovechkin (50), (Backstrom)
17:39 TB Stamkos (16), (Lecavalier, Lashoff)(PP)
19:50 WSH Green (26), (Morrisonn, Kozlov)

Second Period
15:54 TB St. Louis (27), (Malone, Lashoff)

Third Period
01:48 WSH Green (27), (Kozlov, Ovechkin)
07:38 WSH Nylander (8), (Kozlov, Ovechkin)(PP)
12:26 WSH Bradley (5), (Morrisonn, Steckel)

The Lightning's streak of getting points in games ends at four. It might be for the best considering the team was about to play itself out of the #2 draft slot. Still, I just don't get it. They played 40 minutes of hockey showing they could go toe-to-toe with one of the most talented teams in the league, and it's like they got on the bus early at the second intermission.

Noah Welch was -2 with 1 shot in 16:33. He's just not good.

Matt Smaby took the rough -4 treatment with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 20:25. Shake it off, #32.

Paul Szczechura was -2 with 3 shots in 13:32. He was also 44% on draws.

Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot and 3 hits in 13:24. The chemistry he had on a line with Szczechura and Pettinger was fleeting, apparently. He's just not very good right now either.

Richard Petiot was +1 with 1 shot and 1 hit in 21:58. He was one of only two players with a plus rating. He made some mistakes, but they didn't end up in his net.

Matt Lashoff had 2 assists and was +2 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 22:30. If you're looking for the silver lining from this game, it's Lashoff. When he came over from Boston, from what I had seen in his younger days playing in Providence, I figured he'd be a good two-way #5 d-man who could get you 25 points a season. Seeing him in extended minutes through two games, he looks like he very much might be the equal of Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros in terms of his skill and athleticism. Those are two players who should be 40 point a year d-men when healthy. The key is going to be whether these coaches can get Lashoff to pay attention to his own zone and to take the body consistently. They've already pulled that feat off with Meszaros, so there's reason for optimism on that front. You can see the talent, though. Damian Crisdotero did some Chicken Littling about Cory Murphy breaking his foot and Lashoff having to assume his minutes. Matt sure did answer the bell tonight.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Matt Smaby

Basics

Type: 
Out of Organization
Position: 
Defense
Shoots/Catches: 
Left
Height: 
6.06
Weight: 
239
Born: 
10/14/1984
Age: 
33
Hometown: 
Minneapolis, MN
Acquired: 
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2 (#41) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Retired
Projects As: 
No. 4/5 Defenseman

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Drafted
Draft Year: 
2003
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Round: 
2
Pick No.: 
41
Draft Team: 
Shattuck-St.Mary's (USHS)

Contract

Contract Status: 
Signed
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Eligible
Signing Date: 
07/26/2009
Contract Type: 
One-way
Contract Length: 
2 years
Cap Number: 
$525 000
Contract Start Year: 
2009
Contract End Year: 
2011
Contract End Status: 
UFA
Salary: 
$500 000
Salary: 
$550 000

Bio

History: 

Junior Career

Smaby broke onto the hockey scene with two years of hockey at prep school powerhouse Shattuck St. Mary's as a teammate of Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby and Buffalo Sabres first round pick Drew Stafford. Smaby also played basketball with Shattuck and prior to his years there was a two sport star at Minneapolis Southwest High School. In 61 games with Shattuck he had 21 points despite playing much of his final season there in a cast with a broken wrist. Long committed to North Dakota University, Smaby opted into the 2003 Entry Draft and was taken by the Lightning early in the second round. Smaby was +20 as a freshman at North Dakota in 39 games with 1 goal and 7 points. In 44 games as a sophomore Smaby's offensive output dropped to 3 points but he came on late in the season as the Fighting Sioux advanced to the NCAA championship game before losing to Denver. Smaby returned to North Dakota this year to play his junior season and lead a young blueline as the only regular upperclassman defenseman on the team. He was named team captain for the 2005-2006 season and led the Fighting Sioux to victory in the WCHA tournament, earning All Tournament Team honors, before helping lead North Dakota to the national semifinal game of the NCAA tournament. He was also named to the WCHA's All-Academic Team and Third Team All WCHA.

Professional Career

Smaby began his rookie year of professional hockey with Springfield of the AHL where he spent most of the season on the team's second pairing. In 66 games with the Falcons, Smaby scored 2 goals and 16 points with 43 penalty minutes and a -24 rating. Smaby was recalled to Tampa late in the season but did not suit up in any regular season games for the Lightning. Smaby made the Lightning out of camp in 2007-2008 appearing in his first NHL game on October 4, 2007 against the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, Smaby was unable to hold onto the Lightning's sixth defenseman job and he was sent to Norfolk of the AHL after seeing just four games of action. With the Admirals, Smaby posted 1 goal and 6 points in 58 games with a -1 rating and 66 penalty minutes before being recalled to the Lightning late in the season. In the NHL, Smaby played a total of 14 games with a -6 rating and 12 penalty minutes.

Scouting Report

Strengths: 

Smaby is big and mobile for a man his size. When on his game, he's a fierce hitter who plays a simple, effective stay at home style game. He possesses a good, but underutilized, slap shot. Has a long reach and an active stick.

Weaknesses: 

Smaby isn't a natural puckmover and still needs to work at making a good first pass out of the zone. He showed some inconsistency in the physical game as an underclassman but has since settled down. He's not a poor skater, but he lacks recovery speed if he misses on a check.

Projection: 

Smaby is the kind of big, physical defenseman who isn't flashy but is essential to any hockey team looking to survive the rigors of NHL playoff hockey. His mobility should help him play a good amount of minutes in the pros and he will be a strong contributor on the penalty kill. He'll never make all-star teams for his offensive contributions, but the Lightning believe he could be a number four or number five defenseman with a long and successful NHL career. Think Jassen Cullimore, with a mean streak

Statistics

NHL Game Night 3/17: Maple Leafs at Lightning

Lightning crumble in final 20:24.

TOR-4
TB-3 (SO)

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 39 shots before allowing 2 of 6 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. He looked really good for the first 39:36 of the game. He was moving well. Following the puck. Then he overplayed on Jason Blake to allow the first goal and his fundamentals started to come unglued. His rebound control went straight to hell. His five-hole got big enough to drive a truck through. I give him credit for battling his way to get the point and he was game in the shootout, but that's a game Karri's got to help his team close out. Fundamentals. Fundamentals. Fundamentals. On the good side, he's claimed 6 of the last 8 available points.

First Period
13:39 TB Lecavalier (29), (Murphy, St. Louis)(PP)

Second Period
02:26 TB Stamkos (15), (St. Louis, Ramo)(PP)
02:36 TB Pettinger (5), (Karsums, Krajicek)
19:36 TOR Mitchell (9), (Blake, Stralman)

Third Period
03:24 TOR Blake (24), (Stempniak)
14:29 TOR Hamilton (2), (Devereaux, Stajan)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TOR- Hamilton, Mitchell
TB- Lecavalier

Hard luck by the Lightning in the shootout as Stamkos and St. Louis both rang posts. Hint to Rick Tocchet: Lashoff's awesome at shootouts.

We'll have to see if the Lightning make a recall with Cory Murphy going down to injury. Vladimir Mihalik?

Noah Welch had 2 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:29. If he plays every game down the stretch, he'll graduate and be a Bolt Prospects alumni. This saddens me. See: Stewart, Karl.

Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 20:57. He was more subdued than usual tonight.

David Koci had a 10 minute misconduct, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 4:47.

Paul Szczechura was +1 with 1 shot and 2 blocked shots in 13:31. He was also 70% on draws. He looked good tonight. His whole line did with Pettinger and Karsums.

Martins Karsums had an assist and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 10:19. Still waiting for him to put it all together, but he was better tonight.

Richard Petiot had 2 hits in 18:59 against his former organization.

Matt Lashoff was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 22:58. You can see why he was a guy the Lightning were willing to give considerably to get. His skating is smooth as silk, and he's got some skill. Between Lashoff, Ranger, and Meszaros the Lightning will have a ridiculously mobile defense next season. The downside with Lashoff? Tocchet needs to get him to take the body more in the defensive zone. If he can get that out of Lashoff, he's a top-four in this league. Even if he doesn't, he's a real nice number five d-man in the making; a great piece to add to the puzzle.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Upcoming Graduations

A quick update for anyone interested in upcoming prospect graduations...

Karri Ramo needs just 6 more decisions to graduate from prospect status according to our site's criteria.

Matt Smaby needs just 11 more games this season to graduate.

Noah Welch needs just 13 more games this season to graduate.

The Lightning have exactly 13 games remaining on their schedule. Bolt Prospects will issue its Final Rankings for the 2008-2009 season following the conclusion of all prospects' playoff seasons, and with prospects like Dustin Tokarski, James Wright, and Luca Cunti possibly poised to make some deep runs, it may be a while. Expect significant changes at the top of the list, though, with two of the only four prospects ever to hold the #1 spot (Stamkos and Downie being the other two) on our rankings likely to graduate by year's end. And then there's the playoffs...

It should be fun.

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