The 2011 Undrafteds Thread
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01-30-2012, 10:17 PM
Student Of The Game
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Harry Smith, D
Smith is the furthest on the left.
Is he just a guy who topped out at lower levels and had some good international moments? Or did he choose a different path that just didn't include the NHL? Tough to say. He was a star everywhere he went.
At 6'0" and 200 pounds, Smith was one of the larger players of his time, particularly at the minor league and international levels in which he starred. In a career of recorded games that spans from 1953 to 1971, Smith scored 654 points and 1301 PIM in 614 games.
He played two seasons as a junior in the WCJHL, losing the Memorial Cup final to St. Catherine's with the Edmonton Oil Kings. From there he moved to the WIHL and the Trail Smoke Eaters, with whom he would have a long and storied career. He played the 1958 and 1959 seasons in the Okanagan Senior League with the Kelowna Packers, finishing 3rd and 1st in league defense scoring, and earning a 2nd team all-star nod. He then joined the Vernon Canadians to compete for the Allan Cup and lost to the Whitby Dunlops.
Smith rejoined Trail for the 1960-1963 seasons, competing for the Allan Cup in 1960 and winning in 1963. He was a 1960 1st all-star team member, leading all defensemen in scoring. In 1961 he more than doubled any other defenseman in scoring and came 2nd in scoring on Trail, behind Bobby Kromm. In 1962 he was the 2nd highest-scoring defenseman, despite not playing a full season.
For the 1964 and 1965 seasons, Smith moved to the Nelson Maple Leafs. In 1964 he was the highest-scoring blueliner and 4th in the league in PIMs. In 1965 he was again an Allan Cup finalist.
In 1966, Smith rejoined Trail, was again the league's highest-scoring blueliner twice, (and another time easily the per-game leader) and was a league all-star in 1966. Finally, in the 1969-1971 seasons, Smith started to fade. He played one last season in Switzerland but little is known about that season there.
So far, looks like your average minor/senior star, right? I would agree. But I left out some important information:
Between 1961 and 1963, Harry Smith played in 3 World Championships, winning a gold and two silvers, scoring 20 points in 21 games, and was named a tournament all-star every time. His partner on the 1963 all-star squad was Alexander Ragulin
. In 1962 the Soviets did not participate so it was a weaker tournament, but in 1961 Smith beat out Ragulin, Sologubov, Tregubov, Sidorenkov, plus Sweden's Bjorn and Stoltz (whom he also beat out in 1962) for this honour.
I always wondered why, when shawnmullin put together his MLD9 team full of players with Trail and BC connections, he didn't include Smith.
Someone please tell me, how is Smith not a potential all-time great? Can you do it without also seriously downplaying players like Ragulin, Sologubov, Tregubov, Sidorenkov, Bjorn and Stoltz? How are they ATD/MLD players and he's available as we approach pick 2000, when, internationally, he achieved the same things they did?
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