November 25th, 2013 by

Player of the Week: November 18th-24th

Player of the Week: November 18th-24th

If you are still wondering who one of the other players the Boston Bruins received in the Tyler Seguin mega-deal, there may be a problem.

Reilly Smith has been a substantial part of the Black and Gold’s success so far this season. Last week, Smith tallied two goals and two assists while posting a plus-2 rating.

The 22-year-old right wing has been a pleasant surprise for the B’s so far this season scoring four goals while assisting on 11 others. His 11 assists rank him only behind gifted play-maker David Krejci for the team lead. Smith is also third on the team in points behind Krejci and Milan Lucic.

Head coach Claude Julien is beginning to see Smith’s ability more clearly now and his comfort level with the puck in the offensive zone.

“Yeah, we always seem to overlook his age and him being young,” Julien said after the B’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes Saturday afternoon. “The way I think he’s handled himself in pressure situations and just what you said, handling the puck a little bit better and holding onto it. At the same time, I thought tonight he had a little bit better of a nose for the net and before looking to make plays versus shooting the puck. He’s really turned a corner and is really coming along well for a young player.”

Sure, Carl Soderberg could have been this week’s Player of the Week as well with two goals and two assists, but Smith has been consistent for almost the entire year. Julien now knows he can get consistent contributions from both of them every game moving forward.

“Yeah, they feel better more and more playing together,” said the seventh year Bruins coach. “They’re reading off of each other extremely well and I said that earlier in an interview about how they’re just reading off each other, anticipating, so they’re always on top of the puck. They know exactly where they want to go and where they’re going to put the puck so they’re on top of it all the time and the last few games, they’ve had a lot of chances and a lot of offensive zone time.”

The 69th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft tallied three goals and six assists in 37 games for the Stars during the lockout shortened season. In 23 games with the B’s, Smith has already exceeded his totals from a year ago.

Smith is quite skilled and he is developing before our eyes.

“Every day gets a little bit easier,” Smith said. “When you stay with the same linemates, for a few weeks or a month, every day gets easier. Chemistry builds every day so just take it day by day, but I think everything is going pretty well right now. I’m just trying to keep the ball rolling.”

The way I look at the trade with the Dallas Stars is the B’s received a big name like Loui Eriksson in the deal like the Boston Red Sox received Josh Beckett, but it was Mike Lowell (the throw in) that won a World Series MVP. I am not saying Reilly Smith will win a Conn Smythe, but it is sometimes the littlest pieces that do the biggest job.

Smith is on a roll and has a comfort zone in Boston and with his line mates. This is no fluke. Look for him to continue his solid 2013-14 campaign.

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