Although 29-year-old forward Gemel Smith scored 53 points in 54 AHL games, this past season was Smith’s first campaign in over a half-decade that he did not feature in any NHL games.
Now, the veteran of 356 AHL games and 91 games in the NHL is headed to play for an overseas club for the first time in his pro career. According to a team announcement, Smith has signed with Dynamo Minsk in the KHL.
Smith joins 2015 first-round pick Nick Merkley, Calder Cup Champion Sam Anas, former AHL blueliner Kodie Curran, and former Cornell University star Yanni Kaldis as an overseas professional rostered by Belarus’ KHL club.
Seeing as he has been a prolific AHL scorer in recent seasons and brings genuine NHL experience, Smith is likely to be expected to be among Minsk’s top scorers for next season. While the NHL door is certainly not closed moving forward as Smith isn’t even 30 years old yet, he’ll want to have as productive a season as possible with Minsk if he hopes on returning to the world’s top league in the future.
Considering Smith’s resume, it’s possible he could get a two-way contract as soon as next summer, though he’ll likely need to put up some numbers next to Merkley and Minsk’s other offensive players in order to do so.