#24 Ty Smith, D, Spokane Chiefs (10/18/17)

vs. Moose Jaw

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Stud 2018 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Ty Smith plays the two on one perfectly and has a very clean break up on the puck that sends it right to trailing teammate JAD.

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This is a clip you will want to bookmark – it’s Smith from start to finish. Off the face-off he picks up his streaking check with focus, sticks to him and denies him the puck and clears it. Then, he follows up the play through the neutral and intercepts the puck sidestepping a teammate while delivering a tape pass for the ensuing scoring chance.

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Smith takes a pass in stride despite being a little off target, enters the offensive zone, and dishes a backhand pass. Backing up into the defensive zone, you can see his skating command as his mobility in reverse is super fluid and smooth. He picks up the puck and uses his great lateral explosiveness with the puck to evade the tight check and hit his winger with a zone exiting pass.

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Smith spin cuts and the forechecker blows a tire, and you see him wheel through the neutral zone. He dumps the puck in as he gets converged on, which is fine considering circumstance though not ideal with his skillset. You also see him rush the follow-up right board sequence, where he could pull out with the puck and avoid the stoppage in play.

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This is a complex storyboard for the fact that you see highlights, errors, and negative yet insignificant result. On one hand you don’t like to see that solo offensive zone giveaway turned into a rush against, but it did go offside. On the other, you see lights out puck rushing ability where he splits not ONE pair, but TWO pairs of attackers (then loses the puck to the D). This is one of those high hockey sense kids that you let go, and let him try these unbelievable plays because it doesn’t really impact his overall decision making if the result isn’t perfect now.

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Intentionally or not, it’s impressive how close to the blueline he nonchalantly walks it giving him extra space to operate. His pass is butter, but his shot mechanic’s a little slow/delayed and light. Once the play is sent the other way, he shows some more reliability as a supreme breakout defender.

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#18 Filip Kral, D, Spokane (10/18/2017)

vs. Moose Jaw (WHL)

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2018 NHL Draft prospect Filip Kral slips two checks as the defender who initiated a clean, well executed breakout. On the missed pass reception, you see his feet limit him ever so slightly despite the safe dump in.

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Smooth handle, smooth delivery cross ice. Might not be the best pure skater out there, but he looks very confident on the move with the puck (and time).

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Kral eventually finds himself in a tenuous spot in the L corner boards after fellow 2018 draft eligible Luka Burzan tracks him down. The play is progressed out of the zone only because of his D partner, who he’s lucky circles behind their net and provides support in the right spot. This clip shows slight shortcoming in terms of anticipation as well as, again, skating ability.

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Right off of the faceoff, Kral takes off with the puck and shows a tight grip on it as he goes exit to entry. Here he is able to create a scoring chance on his own and show desire offensively.

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Kral shows the same exiting burst only this time on the PK where he kills off time. He has a knack for pouncing on loose puck opportunities and translating them into plus plays because of his hands.