The blue line remodel in Carolina continues. The latest addition is veteran Brendan Smith, who the team announced has signed a one-year, $800K contract. The Hurricanes are very familiar with Smith, who has played for the Metropolitan Division rival New York Rangers for the past four plus years and in the Eastern Conference his whole career.
Smith is a solid addition for the Hurricanes as an experienced physical presence. The 32-year-old has had some ups and downs in his career, but has remained a consistent checking threat throughout. A hard-nosed defender who works hard in puck battles and takes charge in front of the net, Smith is the type of character defender who plays a physical game but does it the right way. He can also chip in on offense from time to time and has even been known to ply his trade as a checking forward.
Perhaps the Hurricanes are considering a hybrid role for Smith, as their blue line is looking awfully crowded. Even with the departures of Dougie Hamilton and Jake Bean, the Hurricanes are already back to having one of the deepest defense corps in the league. Mainstays Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, and Jake Gardiner have now been joined by veteran signings Smith and Ian Cole, reclamation project Anthony DeAngelo, and trade acquisition Ethan Bear for eight legitimate NHL defenseman, not including rumored signing Jalen Chatfield and unsigned RFA Maxime Lajoie. That’s quite the logjam on defense for Carolina, which could lead to some difficult waivers decisions down the road.