Brendan Smith has played in the last five games for the Rangers after sitting out the final game before the Rangers bye week and their first game after the bye.
Prior to coming back into the lineup, Alain Vigneault was asked about Smith and said, "he would be the first to say, I think, that he can be better. There are a lot of things we all like about Smitty, his energy, the way that he comes to play. But for this first half, I would say that it hasn't been what we expected, it hasn't been the same player that we saw last year.
In the five games since Smith has returned, he has 1 goal, a minus 2 rating, 18 PIM, 14 shots on goal and an average of 17:52.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the Ducks, Vigneault said of Smith, "Smitty is trying hard and trying to play with bite and get back to the dependable Smitty that we all know and love. That is a player that walks that line and every game he has 3-4 plays, and we have talked to him about this, that can make the difference on one side or the other. He needs to pick the right side and he knows it and is working hard and we have a lot of faith and confidence that he will help us moving forward."
Smith was hit up high in the first period against LA, drawing a penalty, and then as time expired in the first period he fought and was given an extra two minutes for roughing.
The Kings scored the first of their three PP goals during that penalty to Smith. Vigneault mentioned twice after Sunday's game that he was "not crazy" about the penalty that Smith took at that time.
On the season, Smith has 1 goal, 7 assists, a plus 6 rating, 17:08 per game, 52 hits, 32 blocked shots, 19 takeaways and 42 giveaways in 38 games.
Smith is in the first year of a four-year deal that pays him $4.35 million.
Adam Rotter: This has not been a very good year for Smith and certainly not what was expected when the Rangers signed him to that contract before free agency started. On paper he brings physicality and energy to a team that is sometimes lacking in those areas. If Smith can find a way to return to being the player that he was when paired with Brady Skjei last season, then the Rangers will take a big step towards fortifying their defense. If he doesn't find his game then he will likely be in a rotation of healthy scratches with Steven Kampfer and, likely, Tony DeAngelo.