The 2022–23 season is fast approaching. Here at Five For Howling, we’re looking at this year’s 25 best Arizona Coyotes players under the age of 25.
Center Nathan Smith was originally selected in the third round (91st overall) of the 2018 Draft by the Winning Jets, taking his talents to Minnesota State University at Mankato, where he played for three seasons.
2021–22 League: NCAA (Minnesota State - Mankato)/NHL (Arizona Coyotes)
Regular Season Games Played: 38/10
Regular Season Goals: 19/2
Regular Season Assists: 31/2
Highest Individual Ranking: 11
Lowest Individual Ranking: 11
Last Year’s Ranking: N/A
After putting up a team-leading 50 points in 38 games, the Jets traded Smith’s rights to the Coyotes along with the contract of Bryan Little in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick. He subsequently signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Coyotes, carrying a cap hit of $883,750.
With his college season done, Smith took his talents to the NHL and featured in ten games before the end of the 2021-22 campaign, registering two goals and two assists in his brief stint at the professional level.
Smith showed a willingness to use his 6-foot-1, 190lbs frame to good use with 26 hits and six blocked shots but struggled in the face-off circle with just a 39.6% success rate - an area he will need to develop further if he hopes to be a long-term center at the NHL level.
Smith has shown plenty of promise in the Show, while playing an average of 14:09 when on the ice, and there’s reason to believe he will establish himself as a full-time player in the NHL this upcoming season - with a place on the third line the most likely spot for him.
Alongside fellow college signing Jack McBain, Smith is an impending RFA after the 2022-23 season and will be looking to secure a longer term in his next contract, with a positive season ahead going a long way to helping him secure that.