Reilly Smith had little NHL experience when he became a member of the Boston Bruins last July 4th. As we all so vividly re-call, General Manager Peter Chiarelli provided his own fireworks that Independence Day, packaging Tyler Seguin in a multi-player deal that landed Smith on Causeway Street.
Having played in just 40 games with the Dallas Stars, Smith progressed rapidly within Claude Julien‘s system. He went from tallying just nine points in 37 games the year prior to scoring 20 goals and notching 31 assists in 2013-2014.
Smith was one of the Bruins best offensive players despite a dip in production amid a mid-season slump. He began the season on the third-line, but outstanding play quickily earned him a promotion to the second-line. Smith flourished playing alongside the elite Patrice Bergeron, finishing with a plus-28 rating.
He scored 18 goals through the first 52 games. Smith found the net just twice over the remaining 30. Reports during the season indicated the 23-year-old was battling an uknown illness during that time which can be attributed to the drop-off.
Smith performed well in the playoffs. He scored four goals in 12 postseason tilts.
Expect Smith to come close to and maybe even surpass the 30-goal mark in 2014-2015. If he can stay healthy, such expectations seem obtainable given his performance this past year.
Boston is currently working to strike a new deal with Smith as he is a restricted free-agent.
Final Grade: A