Colorado Avalanche: Ty Smith New Generation of Puck-Moving D-Men

KELOWNA, BC - MARCH 03: Ty Smith #24 of the Spokane Chiefs skates to the bench against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on March 3, 2018 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
KELOWNA, BC - MARCH 03: Ty Smith #24 of the Spokane Chiefs skates to the bench against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on March 3, 2018 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche have the #16 selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. If defenseman Ty Smith is available, they may choose him.

It has been confirmed that the Colorado Avalanche will have the #16 position in the 2018 NHL Draft. While the top-five or so draft picks are pretty clear, numbers coming after pick #10 could go in a number of ways.

The Avalanche have eight picks this year:

  • #16
  • #47
  • #58 (from Nashville)
  • #78
  • #109
  • #140
  • #171
  • #202

They always pick up a defenseman or three. However, after they scored Cale Makar in the first round and Conor Timmins in the second, it’s hard to say they’ll opt for a defenseman again in the first round.

However, GM Joe Sakic has stated the team will select the best available player. If he drops down to the #16 spot, Ty Smith might fit that bill.

Ty Smith

2017-18 Team: Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Date of Birth: Mar. 24, 2000 (18 years old)
Ht: 5’10″
Wt: 175pounds
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left



Ranked #19 by ISS HOCKEY

Ranked #16 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY

Ranked #14 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

According to The Hockey News, Ty Smith is the best prospect in the Western Hockey League and can hold his own as a defenseman in a draft class that includes future superstar Rasmus Dahlin.

The reason Smith is so highly praised is because he’s the new style of defenseman — a mobile puck mover. As Future Considerations points out, he’s a “poised, puck-moving blueliner who dictates the play.”

ISS Hockey concurs:

Part of his expertise comes in his skating. Ty Smith is known for being a smooth skater. Future Considerations says of his skating that it’s “smooth and efficient.” The Draft Analyst goes into more detail:

He’s an effortless skater with strong balance and agility, and he can pivot with the best of them.”

While all the scouts remark on Smith’s speed, Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey describes Smith’s acceleration as “elite,” stating he reaches his top speed “in just one or two strides.” Kerr goes on:

Smith also has the pivots, agility, and edgework to cover large areas of the ice… Smith has good balance and a low centre of gravity…He can rush the puck up the ice, or pinch in at the blue line and still cover up his spot defensively. He has excellent speed in both directions.”

A deeper dive into Ty Smith’s skill set shows that he has scoring abilities, too. In 69 games with the Spokane Chiefs last season, Smith recorded 14 goals and 59 assists — very impressive.

Future Considerations credits his stick handling, stating he “excels with the puck on his stick.” The site also praises his shot, pointing out he keeps the puck low on the net when on point rather than aiming for a slapshot.

Kerr sees the same qualities in Smith’s stick handling. However, he also remarks on Ty’s accuracy, pointing out that the defenseman is “good at getting his shot on net, despite the traffic, finding shooting lanes.”

Every single scout also comments on some version of Ty Smith’s ice vision. The Draft Analyst remarks:

Smith’s mobility and vision seem to throw opponents into a state of confusion..You’ll rarely see Smith get caught chasing his man or losing positioning, as he makes timely reads and anticipates exactly where the puck will end up.”

Kerr is impressed with Ty Smith’s vision as well, calling it and his ability to read the play “excellent.” Kerr also likes Smith’s poise.

Future Considerations states his “overall awareness [is] impressive.”

You might expect a smallish defenseman with so many offensive skills to be a liability on defense. Ty Smith is not. Here’s another place his vision and hockey smarts come into play.

Future Considerations observes that Smith can play a shutdown role, but not with physicality — he uses his body to separate the puck from the opponent, rather than the opponent from an upright position. The site adds:

His active stick is a presence in his own zone causing turnovers and closing lanes.”

Kerr also observes that Smith’s defensive play is due to “smart positioning and a quick stick.” All scouts agree that Ty Smith needs to get stronger. However, they also all praise his puck-moving out of the zone.

Ty Smith in action:

Ty Smith and the Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche have proven they’re all-in with the new style of puck-moving defensemen with the drafting of Makar and Timmins. However, they have Timmins in the pipeline and Makar looking to join the organization at the conclusion of his next college season.

Plus there’s the little matter of little Samuel Girard, who performed oh-so-well as a puck-moving defenseman in the NHL last season. He’s also the grandpa of the group at the ripe old age of 20.

In other words, Colorado seems pretty stacked in that department.

That said, Ty Smith certainly does make an exciting prospect. He’s speedy, thinks the game fast, and has elite puck skills. Those are all high-value qualities for the Colorado Avalanche.


This draft class is ripe with talented defensemen. Maybe the Avs pick from the best the defensive class has to offer at #16, even if they already have enough of that style of player. They can always flip one later for the type of player they do need.