The New Jersey Devils have signed their top draft pick, inking Ty Smith to a three-year entry-level contract. Smith was the 17th-overall pick in June’s draft, and is expected to continue his CHL career with the Spokane Chiefs this season. If he fails to play in more than nine games with the Devils, his entry-level deal would slide forward at least a year.
That nine game mark seemed unattainable when Smith was drafted, but after impressing everyone at the Devils’ development camp earlier this summer there is a chance he could begin the year in New Jersey. Few players from his place in the first round jump right to the NHL, but is already a fairly polished offensive defenseman capable of moving the puck with incredible quickness and accuracy. It’s clear that the Devils are trying to build a defense corps with those skills, after adding players like Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen over the last year.
It remains unlikely that Smith will be a full-time option for the Devils this year, but that won’t be the case very long. He believes he will find great success in the NHL and there is little reason to doubt him at this point. For now, a return to Spokane and a key role with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in December should help him take the next step in his development.