Ottawa, Ont.- The Ottawa Senators have announced the signing of centre Zack Smith to a four-year contract extension worth $7.55 million. The extension will lock Smith up through the 2016-17 season. The Senators have now locked up their top three centres, after earlier signing Kyle Turris to a five-year contract. Jason Spezza, their number one centre, is in the middle of a long-term contract.
Last season, Smith settled into a regular spot in the lineup and in 81 games with the Senators he recorded 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points. A third round pick (79th overall) in the 2008 NHL entry draft, Smith adds a physical style and grit that the Senators have needed for year’s. Playing mostly a fourth line role last season, the extension signifies the Senators willingness to promote Smith to the third line.
With Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka gone, the Senators have a need for some physical presence. The signing of Smith signifies that the Senators are confident that Smith can fill some of that role. More pressure will now be put on Smith and Chris Neil to carry more of the physical load for the Senators.
Smith is also strong in his own end, ending with a +4 rating last season. At 24 years of age there is still some upside to his game and the promotion to the third line will give Smith the opportunity to offensively add more to his game, which will go along with his defensive play and tough physical style.