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02-10-2012, 08:43 PM
  #130
seventieslord
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Greg Smith, D



Smith went from being a heavily-used player on bad teams, to a #4 on a stanley cup finalist, to a contributing player on pretty good teams. With a career average of 20.57 minutes per game maintained over 829 games, you'd think he should be an MLD player. The downside is, his teams were not good: 15% below average when weighted throughout his career. Still, as a guy who could play massive minutes on a terrible team and contribute to good ones (and get into 63 playoff games) he is more than worthy here, and stands out above many AA and A level defensemen.

With 288 points in 829 games, Smith is the highest scoring defenseman available. He had four 30+ point seasons, and a total of nine with 20+. Smith was a willing fighter, with 74 in his career. Also, while toiling for the Cleveland Barons earlier in his career, Smith was twice called upon to represent Canada at the world championships.

At age 21, Smith became a full-time NHLer with Cleveland, playing as their #5. The very next year he was their #1 defenseman in all situations, playing ahead of Jean Potvin, Bob Stewart and Jim Neilson, getting 28.24 minutes a game, 9th in the NHL. Then he went to Minnesota for the 1979 season, with the team just starting their emergence from the 1970s doldrums. He was their #2 defenseman behind Gary Sargent and ahead of Brad Maxwell. In 1980 he suffered through some injuries and took a backseat, playing as their #6 behind a pretty stacked core of hartsburg, Maxwell, Sargent, Shmyr and Barrett. However, he was healthy as Minnesota finally did some damage in the playoffs.

1981 was Smith's peak. He played most of the season as the #3 with Maxwell injured, then was the solid #4 as Minnesota got all the way to the finals.

Back to bad teams again, Smith went to the Wings for 4 years and aided in their resurgence. In 1982 and 1983, he played behind Huber and Larson as a #3, then behind Larson and Park in 1984. Randy Ladouceur stepped up to #2 in 1985, leaving Smith as the #4 in Detroit, where he remained through most of the 1986 season.

Smith finished his career as the #5 in Washington behind their all-world top-4 of Murphy, Stevens, Langway and Hatcher.

To recap: 5, 1, 2, 6, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6. A decent career that was also quite long for someone who started in 1976. (Price and Smith are the only available defensemen born in a 10-year period who lasted 700+ NHL games)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey, 1978-1988 editions
one of the youngsters whom Cleveland could be built around... was good enough to be taken by Team Canada to the World Hockey Championships... in spite of youth and first international experience, he played well.. type of player who thrives on hard work. can be extremely aggressive... uses size well, especially around own goal... calm, calculating style causes some to overlook his steady effectiveness... plays rugged yet controlled game... very few silly penalties in his team-leading 147 PIM... a smart playmaker... useful journeyman, tough on defense, good offensively... good skatter, aggressive, handles and moves puck well...

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