May 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ben Smith (28) with the puck during the second period of game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
When the season began the Blackhawks had several open roster spots. Ben Smith was one of the players in competition for the open spots. Smith had played with the Blackhawks sparingly in his tenure with the organization. Before this season, Smith played in 20 regular season games and 8 playoff games. One of those playoff games was Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals last season.
This season Ben Smith won a spot on the fourth line out of training camp. The fourth line was Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger, and Smith. Smith appeared in 75 games this season. He recorded 14 goals and 12 assists this season for a plus 3 rating on the season. Toward the end of the regular season when the Blackhawks faced injuries to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Smith was moved up to the second line as their center. Smith gave some juice to that second line. Ultimately Smith was bounced around.
When the playoffs began, Smith spent time on the fourth line, second line, and on the penalty kill. Smith appeared in 19 games recording 4 goals and 2 assists for a plus 5 rating. Smith is currently set to become a restricted free agent on July 1st. General Manager Stan Bowman said they hope to agree on a contract extension with Smith.
Smith had this to say about his contract on June 3rd, “Obviously, some unfinished business. This is the place where you want to be.”
Stan Bowman had been pretty good at signing players he wants. I expect the Blackhawks and Ben Smith to get a contract extension completed.
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