Brendan Smith will start this season with the Rangers, likely paired with Kevin Shattenkirk, after spending the last couple of months last season in Hartford.
Smith said that he is happy with his training camp and isn't dwelling on what happened last year. (NY Post)
Jeff Gorton said that he was looking for Smith, in training camp, to re-establish himself as an NHL defenseman and said that Smith "has had a good camp. He looks pretty good right now."
David Quinn said Friday that "I've really liked Smitty's game and his last two games were really good. He looked like the guy that we acquired two-years ago, decisive, fast, playing free of mind. I've liked his game."
Quinn said that Smith came to camp in "great shape" and that he has "always been a fan" dating back to when Quinn tried to recruit him to BU. (NYR)
He noted that while Smith was playing in the minors and Quinn was coaching in the minors the two played each other a lot and always found each other to chat.
Quinn added, "we've had a relationship for a long time even though I haven't coached him before."
On Sunday, Quinn said that he has liked Smith's mental toughness and that he is playing like the player Quinn always knew he was. (NYR)
Smith said that he is motivated to show that he is not only back to being himself and a top-four defenseman but his "best self." (NY Post)
Gorton said on Smith on Monday, "He struggled last year, didn't play well from the beginning and it was easy to point to conditioning, it's something that he addressed, it's a faster league all the time and to bulk up and be bigger to handle forwards in front of the net, I understand it, but the way the game is going we wanted him faster and lighter and he has addressed that and looked real good in camp. I'd say that it's a player that had a bad year and has a clean slate and so far has made the most of it as we head to the regular season."
Glen Sather said that he saw Smith at a team building event earlier this week and said that he hardly recognized him, saying "he is fit right now like you can't believe and looks terrific. If I had run into him on the street I might not have recognized him." (NYR)
Adam Rotter: Smith has three-years left on his deal and if he is able to rebound, in the way that the Rangers hope he can, it's likely that he won't finish this contract here. Smith can help a team, in the way that he helped the Rangers in 2017 and at a fixed cap hit, with the Rangers possibly retaining some money, could net them a mid-round pick or two but, more importantly, open up a consistent spot on defense for someone that is likely to be with the Rangers long-term.