The Arizona Coyotes made a few splashes before the trade deadline, going after some of the better college players headed to free agency. We saw that with the signing of Jack McBain a few weeks ago, and we saw that again today with the signing of forward Nathan Smith.
OFFICIAL: We’ve signed forward Nathan Smith to a two-year entry-level contract.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) April 11, 2022
Welcome to the Valley, Nathan! https://t.co/kplaozK5Rv
Originally drafted 91st overall in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Smith has spent the past three seasons in the NCAA playing with Minnesota State University (Mankato). The Tampa, Florida native blew up this past season when he scored a career-high 19 goals and 31 assists, nearly doubling his previous career-high 27 points in a single season.
The Coyotes acquired Smith and the contract for Bryan Little from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2022 fourth-round pick last month. Smith couldn’t sign an entry-level contract while still playing in the NCAA, but he has signed a two-year deal with the Desert Dogs with the Frozen Four over.
Smith should have plenty of chances to show what he can do at the NHL level with the Coyotes. The Coyotes are currently missing two of their top goalscorers in Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse, and with the team rebuilding, Smith should be a lock for some quality ice time.