The wheels of training camp are chugging along. The NHL season is inching closer with just 12 days to the Flames season opener. As such, teams are beginning to trim their training camp rosters. This involves sending players back to their junior league or AHL teams. For most, being sent to the AHL will require one to clear waivers first. Yesterday was the first day of waivers, and there were a few interesting names.
The most intriguing name on that list is Ty Smith. The former New Jersey Devils first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft was highly regarded in his WHL career but hasn’t quite found his spot in the NHL yet. The now 23-year-old defenceman played 114 games with the Devils, notching 43 points. Last summer, the Devils shipped off Smith along with a 2023 third-rounder to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for John Marino. In 2022–23, Smith only played nine games with the Penguins, putting up four points. He spent the majority of the season with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, where he put up 24 points in 39 games.
Calgary is likely to use waivers to add depth to their roster
Conroy sat down with Pat Steinberg on Sportsnet 960 earlier this month and discussed the topic of PTOs:
Our mandate to our pro scouts is watch PTOs on other teams, watch for guys who might go on waivers, watch for players who might be available, and there are still players who are unsigned.Craig Conroy on their mentality around signing PTOs this season
In that quote, he mentions they will be watching for guys who might go on waivers. With the recent injury for Jakob Pelletier and the uncertainty surrounding Oliver Kylington, the waiver route is likely one the Flames are going to take. We saw the team use this route during last year’s training camp when they nabbed Radim Zohorna off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There is an obvious mandate to give younger players already in the organization a bigger chance this season. But the organizational depth definitely isn’t a strong point for the club, so I would imagine a player or two are added via waivers. Ty Smith is still young and plays a position that the Flames lack the most in terms of depth. And it’s a no-risk move to boot. It is early enough in training camp that you could claim Smith today and play him in a few more preseason games to see exactly what you have.
Ty Smith the player
Smith has always been regarded highly for his play in the offensive zone. He definitely leaves something to be desired in the defensive zone.
A look at Smith’s Isolated 5v5 Impact below—courtesy of HockeyViz.com—demonstrates his poor defensive play thus far, but also a poor showing in the offensive end. Again, he is still young and could provide value. By and large, he is still relatively unknown at the NHL level. Does he make sense as a replacement for Oliver Kylington while he remains out, given the similarities in their games?
Prospect models are very high on Ty Smith. An example is given below, courtesy of Byron Bader, who posted the following chart yesterday:
I like the reference to Valimaki. As we all know, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with Darryl Sutter, so there was no chance he was making the NHL roster. The Flames waived him before the start of the regular season and he was claimed by the Arizona Coyotes. Valimaki went on to have a strong season with the Yotes, with 34 points in 78 games. Byron’s model is very high on Ty Smith. And at 23 years old, there is still a lot of upside to claiming him off waivers.
Could the Flames create their own Valimaki story by claiming Ty Smith on waivers? Or maybe he makes more sense in a place like Anaheim or Chicago, who could give him ample opportunity to flourish at 5v5 and on the power play. Either way, this situation will be interesting to watch at 12 p.m. MDT today. And as the days for training camps wind down, there are sure to be more intriguing names to hit the waiver wire in the coming days. Watch for more articles from us when more interesting names find themselves on waivers.