This Duck over-age prospect hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Matt Smaby played 3 years at the University of North Dakota (UND) in the WCHA before making the transition to the pro game. The stay-at-home defenseman was originally drafted 41st overall in the 2003 NHL entry draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 6’5” defenseman started his pro career with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL team, the Springfield Falcons, during the 2006-2007 season. Smaby lit the lamp twice in 66 games and tallied 14 assists totaling 16 points in his rookie year.
Prior to the 2007-2008 season, the Lightning uprooted their prospects from Springfield to Norfolk where Smaby played as an Admiral over the course of the next 3 seasons. Smaby played 90 games as an Admiral from 07-08 until the 09-10 season. The 240-pound defenseman only registered 14 points over the 3 years in an Admirals’ jersey, however Smaby played 122 games with the Lightning over 3 years and only record 6 points.
Matt would spilt ways with the Lightning organization following the 2010-2011 season after he did not receive a contract offer by the Lightning, which made him a free agent. Ducks GM Bob Murray signed Matt Smaby to a one-year two-way contract on July 14, 2011.
Smaby only dressed in 30 games during the 2011-2012 season for the Crunch, the Ducks AHL affiliate, due to a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery and kept him from seeing action for several months. In the 30 games with the Crunch last season, he totaled 9 points and picked up 46 minutes in penalties. Smaby re-signed with the Ducks for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.
The large defenseman uses his size to his advantage to muscle the opposition off the puck with ease. With his large frame, his skating ability needs to improve before making the Ducks top 6 defensive parings for every game. Matt plays very aggressive in his own zone which one can tell by the high volume of PIM’s he gets a year. He also finishes his checks and forces turnovers. The UND alumnus does a stellar job blocking shots.
Smaby shows similarities to Rangers D-man Daniel Giradi. They are similar in statute and both show the same playing styles when it comes to their game including shot blocking and forcing turnovers. Matt is an AHL veteran who would make an amazing leader for the younger defensemen that have recently made the transition from the college or junior ranks.
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