Avon’s Ben Smith is back on the ice again. Smith began the season with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks but missed 25 games over two months while battling concussion symptoms.
After just six games, the Sharks reassigned Smith to their AHL affiliate the San Jose Barracuda. Smith, 27, is getting his feet back under him. He has seven goals and two assists in the last six games for the Barracuda. He scored five goals in the last three games.
This was supposed to be Smith’s third full season in the National Hockey League. He had a few cups of coffee with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It was in 2013 when Smith kept himself ready to play throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs and was inserted into the lineup for one game in the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins. The Blackhawks won the Cup and Smith got his name on the majestic trophy.
In 2013-14, he had 14 goals and 12 assists for the Hawks, who advanced to the Western Conference finals before being eliminated by Anaheim. Last season, his scoring dropped with just five goals and four assists in 61 games with Chicago before being traded and finishing out the season with 19 games with San Jose. For the season, he had seven goals and seven assists.
While the Blackhawks were winning their third Stanley Cup in six seasons last spring, Smith got the chance to play with the U.S. national team at the world championships. He helped the Americans earn a bronze medal with an 8-2 record.
Smith had the first American goal in the 5-4 overtime win over Slovakia and the first U.S. goal in the 3-1 quarterfinal win over Switzerland. He had 14 shots on goal and played about 10 minutes a game in his first appearance with Team USA and the national team.