Boston Bruins: Grading and analyzing the Craig Smith signing

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 02: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on March 02, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 02: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on March 02, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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The free-agent signing of Craig Smith could be one that fills some needs for the  Bruins in 2021.

Since free agency began in October, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has been relatively quiet. Sweeney re-signed bottom-six forwards Zach Senyshyn and Karson Kuhlman, while also bringing back second-line left wing Jake DeBrusk on a two-year bridge deal.

Last season, it was no secret that one thing the Bruins struggled with was secondary scoring. After their explosive first line, goals were hard to come by. Sweeney hopes to have helped that problem by signing right wing Craig Smith away from the Nashville Predators on a three-year, $9.3 million contract that carries a $3.1 million cap hit.

Last season at the trade deadline, the Bruins acquired right wing Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks to what they hoped would add scoring next to David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Between the season pause because of coronavirus and the restart over the summer, there just was not enough time to gain any chemistry.

Signing Smith should add more secondary for the Black and Gold.

Drafted 98th overall by the Predators in the 2009 Entry Draft, Smith has been a 20-goal scorer in five of his nine years in Nashville. He was on pace to be a 20-goal scorer for a sixth year with the Preds last season, as he finished with 18 goals in the shortened season.

It should come as no surprise that the 31-year old has 162 career goals. Shooting the puck on the net is something Smith likes to do. He was in the Top 10 last season by generating 12 shots on net per 60 minutes.

Playing on a line with Nick Bonino and Rocco Grimaldi last year, the trio was fifth in the NHL in combined goals scored. Smith had a career-high 25 goals in 2017-18 and 21 the following year.

Smith has power play experience as well.

Last season, the Bruins had the second-ranked power play unit behind the Edmonton Oilers. This season, especially at the beginning of the season, there could be some missing parts to the Bruins top unit.

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Torey Krug is gone after signing with the St. Louis Blues in free agency, while David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand could miss the start of the 2020-21 season after offseason surgeries in September. This is where Smith could supply time on the man advantage.

He had 42 career power play goals with the Predators. He scored a career-high nine power play goals in 2017-18 with five assists for a career-high 14 points.

Next. Bruins: Grading the 2019-20 season of Karson Kuhlman. dark

Smith will find himself in a middle-six role at right wing for the Bruins. When the Bruins are healthy, he will most likely play alongside Charlie Coyle on the third line. Smith has the ability to be a 20-30 a year goal scorer. This could quietly be one of the better free-agent signings this offseason.

Grade: B+