Props to Raw Charge for the article. Love it over there.
Matt Smaby was one of the bright spots on a hideous Tampa Bay Lightning defense last season. Not only did he play 43 games (only three defebseneb played more) but many of them were also played with a bone fracture in his foot. Matt was a -11 and had only 4 points, but the 24 year old was still solid when you consider the 24 year old was thrust into more playing time as injuries mounted on the Lightning blue-line.
Smaby filed for arbitration earlier this month and his hearing is this next week and negotiations are ongoing with the team. Both his agent and Lightning GM Brian Lawton are optimistic.
The article also says he isn't a lock to make the team out of camp and frankly I disagree, but what do I know?
Lawton backed himself into a corner on this one. Opened his mouth a little too soon.
Smaby will be a good one. He is about a year away.
Year away from what?
Smaby is ready and has nothing to gain at this point in Norfolk, and he won't pass through waivers, either.
This is purely speculation on my part, but I think this might be how its going down.
Smaby knows, as well as Tampa, that he belongs here. He has nothing else to gain in the AHL and needs to be with the club. He also knows he has bargaining power because of this role and minutes played last year, especially with injury.
What he and his agent see, though, is a numbers game. This is where the one way comes in. He wants a one way so he guarantees his spot in Tampa Bay and doesn't get shuffled to Norfolk because the team has itself in a bit of contract trouble with Lashoff and Lundin. If he has a two way, this will happen, because the team can't afford to lose an asset for nothing.
The more I think about it, the more I can almost guarantee that the situation is NOT about money at all, its about him not riding the bus anymore when he knows he belongs here, and he doesn't want to be one of the shuffled chips.
From being the shutdown d-man we have been looking for.
I agree, he deserves to be here with the Lightning. He will get the experience he needs.
I can see Smaby being a top 4 maybe even a number 3 D-man in the shutdown role. Is he that now? No, does he beat out enough people to crack our line up? Most definetly. Anyone that says he is not NHL ready simply haven't watched the kid play last season, HE IS READY. Other than Hedman, I feel most excited about having him back on our roster, the kid is a beast. He has proved him self in Norfolk and now its a waste to send him there, hes a big boy now let him play with the men instead of the kids.
What is pretty amazing is that Smaby's qualifying offer was $660,000 so in exchange for giving him a one way deal which since Smaby was eligible for waivers wouldn't have mattered anyway Smaby signs for $160,000 less.