The Nashville Predators have announced a new contract for forward Cole Smith. The former Manitoba Junior Hockey League star with the Steinbach Pistons will remain in the Music City for at least one more season of play.
Smith, an undrafted 25-year-old, agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Predators, featuring a $750K salary if playing at the NHL level. Should he suit up in the American Hockey League this season, that yearly pay would drop to $70K.
Making his NHL debut this past year in the season-opener, Smith put up his first NHL shot on goal in his six minutes of icetime. Spending the rest of the 2020-21 season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound winger scored five goals and added another five assists and 16 penalty minutes in 23 games during his first season of professional hockey. Smith also skated in five games with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, putting up three points in the process.
Prior to the 2020-21 season, Smith suited up as a regular for four seasons with the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. In 137 total games, he amassed 24 goals and 51 points, to go alongside 177 penalty minutes and a +21 rating as a member of the NCAA. Joining UND following two years of play within the MJHL, Smith’s 51 goals, 110 points and 88 penalty minutes in 119 total games with the Steinbach Pistons certainly provided the Brainerd, MN. product with the tools he needed to set his career in motion.
With just nine forwards signed on for the 2021-22 NHL season at this point, GM David Poille and the Predators will certainly look to Smith come training camp for a potential fit within the team’s bottom-six forwards. Should he fail to make the squad, another year of development within the AHL would not be the worst outcome either. Nashville went 31-23-2 in 56 games last season, finishing fourth in the Central Division