Smith started the season with the Lightning, spending a little more than three months on season-opening injured reserve. Once he was cleared to play in mid-January, he was claimed by Detroit and subsequently sent on a three-game AHL conditioning stint. Since returning from that nearly a month ago, the 27-year-old had hardly played, getting into just three games with the Red Wings where he had an assist while averaging less than seven minutes a game. With Detroit having some players getting closer to returning from injury, they opted to waive Smith to get some roster flexibility.
As Tampa Bay was the only team to place a claim on Smith, they were able to send him down to AHL Syracuse and have quickly made that move. Smith was quite productive with the Crunch back in 2019-20 with 40 points in 50 games and having played just 14 times between last season and this season combined, he should certainly benefit from some consistent playing time. He’s in the first season of a two-year, two-way deal worth the league minimum of $750K at the NHL level.