Gabe Smith is going about his business quietly, but he’s doing everything the right way with the Moncton Wildcats. Expectations are always high when a player is as high profile as Smith. Things take time especially when you’re a 16-year-old kid trying to gain your footing at the next level. Some would say Smith is off to a slow start with only five assists in 12 games, but he’s been engaged every time out.
Smith has all the tools to be an extremely dangerous presence at the QMJHL level and beyond.
The 16-year-old power forward “to be” skates incredibly well for his size. A matter of fact some scouts would say he has amazing feet for his size, but there’s no question he is still trying to find his stride at the Q level.
At 6’3 and a 195 pounds Smith still has room to grow figuratively and literally. You can make all the comparisons and similarities you want, but Gabe Smith is a close to a bonafide power forward as you could have that’s why people and fans alike need to understand he needs time.
Milan Lucic, Jamie Benn and Sean Couturier come to mind when you see the young New Brunswicker play the game he loves. Many comparisons are unfair, especially when it comes to NHLers, but Smith possesses a tremendous foundational skill set.
Smith is arguably the best forward prospect to come out of New Brunswick in quite sometime.
The St. Andrews, New Brunswick product competes on every puck in every situation all over the Ice. He’s a nasty player to play against, not because he’s dirty, because he’s mean and has tons of sandpaper to his game which he has showed that throughout his first foray into the QMJHL. Smith has finished every single hit this season which is great to see. There’s no back down in his game, he just needs to gain a little more confidence when he has the puck on his stick. He plays the game the right way in all three zones. He’s defensively accountable in all three zones, he thinks the game very well and has very active stick in all three zones.
Obviously, there are always aspects young players and rookies can work on. Smith will have to work on his explosiveness and agility to continue to excel at the Q level. Smith can play both forward positions with relative ease. He has extremely soft hands and great puck skills in open ice and in high traffic areas. He continues to go hard to the net and has experienced a couple rough rides this season and hasn’t backed down once. When it comes to the offensive side the game, Smith has incredible upside. He possesses a heavy accurate shot and can score from just about anywhere on the ice. His shot rivals that of many pros. At times we haven’t seen that shot from Smith this season, but it’s just a matter of time before he gains more confidence with the puck on his stick.
It’s just a matter of time before he scores his first QMJHL goal. He’s been all around the puck the last few games and I wouldn’t be surprised that when he scores his first, he will score in bunches. Smith has logged third line minutes for Dan Lacroix’s upstart Wildcats who are playing a fantastic brand of hockey right now. Smith is going about his business very quietly, but there’s nothing wrong with that because it’s all about gradual and progressive development.
Gabe Smith is still a player to watch and will only get better with time and more experience. From an offensive standpoint you will see him find the back of the net very very soon.