This afternoon, the Detroit Red Wings announced on twitter that the organization claimed Tampa Bay’s Gemel Smith off of waivers. A following announcement also revealed some changes to Detroit’s upcoming schedule.
How does Gemel fit into the lineup?
The 27 year old forward joins his brother, Givani, on the Red Wings roster.
Gemel Smith is Givani’s older brother. He started his career with the Dallas Stars before moving on to the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he won two Stanley Cups.
Throughout his career, Smith has yet to really stick in the NHL. The most NHL games he’s played in single year was 46 back in 2017-18. However, he has been quite efficient in the AHL, scoring 40 points in two separate seasons. Last year, Smith played five games with the Lightning, tallying three assists in his appearances. He scored three goals and three assists in six games with Tampa’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
So what does Smith bring to the Red Wings?
In all likelihood, he’ll play a very similar role Carter Rowney. Smith won’t find himself among the top-six in the starting lineup, but he could play his way into a consistent role on the bottom-six, acting as physical forward that provides competent offense and good defense. Smith won’t come in and light up the scoreboard, but he’ll do the little things right – something that Head Coach Jeff Blashill has always shown a fondness for.
Smith also draws comparison to another player that left Tampa Bay for Detroit. While younger, Mitchell Stephens was a forward in a strong pipeline that couldn’t really break through to the NHL consistently. With a bigger role in Detroit, Stephens showed promise as a solid bottom-six center, although an injury has him sidelined. Gemel Smith could find himself in a similar situation – tons of AHL experience and a hunger to prove himself as a NHL-caliber player, carving out a role for himself on a weaker roster.
Either way, the Smith Bros. will be an entertaining duo on the ice.
The Scheduling Change
After a bevy of postponements following a team COVID outbreak, the re-shuffling of Detroit’s schedule is no surprise. The new schedule fills the Olympic break with December’s postponed games, as well as pushing back the Toronto game to make things work.