BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins made their first big move of free agency, signing forward Craig Smith to a three-year contract on Saturday.
The contract will carry a $3.1 million annual cap hit, the team announced.
Smith, 31, scored 18 goals and dished out 13 assists over 69 games for the Nashville Predators in 2019-20, finishing a plus-18 for the season. A fourth-round pick by Nashville in 2009, Smith has scored at least 20 goals in five of his nine NHL seasons.
The 6-foot-1, 208-pound forward has played in 661 career NHL games with Nashville, tallying 162 goals and 168 assists to go with a plus-67 rating. Smith has also played in 52 career postseason games, scoring seven goals and dishing out nine assists.
Smith said that he took a lot of calls from interested teams when free agency got underway Friday, but he kept thinking of the prospects of playing in Boston. Patrice Bergeron played a big part in convincing him to sign with the B’s.
“Patrice and I had a conversation yesterday and the way he spoke of the team and the love he had for his teammates, and the respect I have for him as a player, it definitely meant a lot,” said Smith, via the Bruins Twitter account. “I’ve had a lot of fun watching that team over the last couple of years.
“I’m happy to be part of it moving forward,” Smith added. “This team is in a great position, they’ve won a lot of games and if I can jump in and help in any way, I’m going to do that.”
Smith said that he’s a “high tempo player” who doesn’t pass up a lot of shots, which should be music to the ears of Boston fans.
“I’m a pressure first guy. I try to get to the net and get my stick on the puck,” he said.
“He’s a volume shooter, natural right wing,” Boston GM Don Sweeney said of Smith.
Smith will slot in on the right side of the Bruins’ third line next to center Charlie Coyle and left winger Anders Bjork, and should be a big boost to Boston’s 5-on-5 scoring.