Silver Nuggets: Is anything wrong with Zack Smith?

Here's Zack Smith chilling against the glass. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

On 6 January, we gave out the mid-term report card and Zack Smith was given an A for having 12 goals in 41 games, which is a 24 goal pace. Since then, Zack Smith has 0 goals in the following 11 games and his assist last night was his first point in that span. He's still on pace for 19 goals and 35 points, which is a good return from a third-line centre.

Ignoring things like "grit" or "heart", is there a reason to be worried? Smith has 16 shots in the last 11 games or 1.45 per game. In the first 41 games, he had 76 shots for 1.85 a game. The fact that he scored on 12 of those 76 shots should have been a sign as that was a 15.8% shooting rate. Among regular forwards on the team, only Zenon Konopka and Kaspars Daugavins have a lower relative corsi than Smith. On the other hand, only Daugavins starts in the defensive zone more than Smith.

Of course not everyone likes to look at the numbers, but Zack Smith was overachieving greatly earlier in the season and he is now starting to come down a little bit. Having said that, he plays 2:50 a night on the penalty kill, which is second only to Erik Condra among forwards. Offensively, even if he ends up with 16 or 17 goals, that's not a bad season at all from a 2nd-year third line centre.

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