Mitchell Smith – Saginaw Spirit – Player Profile

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight: 180 Pounds

Date of birth: September 15, 2002

Hometown: Saginaw, MI

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 5, 84th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. N.R. N.R.

Saginaw Spirit blueliner Mitchell Smith hasn’t gotten a mention from National Hockey League Central Scouting all season, and it’s not because he met draft eligibility for the 2020 draft on the very last possible day. We do however believe he should be on the list.

Smith played his Midget Hockey with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies Under-16 squad during the 2017-2018 season where he scored 8 goals and 39 assists in 58 games. Smith had verbally committed to attend the University of Michigan, yet his hometown Saginaw Spirit still drafted him in the 5th round of the 2018 Priority Selection, 84th overall. He was also selected in the 5th round of the 2018 USHL Futures Draft, 72nd overall by the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Mitchell Smith of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Mitchell Smith of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

During the 2018-2019 season, Smith returned to the Grizzlies and scored 13 goals while assisting on 30 in 52 games. He decided to forego his NCAA career with Michigan and sign with Saginaw for the 2019-2020 season. In 56 games with the Spirit Smith scored 7 goals and assisted on 9 and was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie squad.

In many ways, Smith fits the description of the new, modern, smaller defenceman. He possesses high end mobility and hockey sense. He retrieves pucks quickly and transitions to offence with a very well-timed pass but he also has the ability to skate with the puck and go end-to-end.

Smith is very good at keeping possession and buying time before dishing off an excellent pass, however, there are times he holds onto the puck too long and an earlier pass may have been the better decision. At 5’10” there are always questions raised about defensive abilities. Smith almost always plays stick-on-stick defensive hockey. His skating ability allows him to keep his gaps close and he can force opponents to the outside and then use his stick effectively to break up the rush. Where he can find himself in trouble is in front of his net where boxing out can be an issue. But he’s still young and transitioning from Midget to Junior isn’t always easy.

Smith’s offensive numbers won’t jump out at you. In fairness, he received almost no powerplay time and didn’t get into many offensive situations. Early in the season, Smith was averaging 10 minutes a night on the ice. As the season progressed and his defensive game wasn’t causing the team many issues, the coaches began trusting him with more ice time, but still no specialty teams play. And for most of the season, he was paired with an offensive defenceman so providing offence wasn’t necessary.

We believe there is some intriguing upside and potential in Smith. He could turn out to be a good find for an NHL team in the middle rounds.

We would take that gamble.

OHL ANNOUNCES 2019-20 ALL-STAR AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAMS

All Star Teams

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the First, Second and Third All-Star Team selections along with the First and Second All-Rookie Team selections for the 2019-20 season.

The OHL All-Star Teams were selected by the OHL’s General Managers, with voting conducted in two stages beginning with a Conference ballot followed by a final ballot that integrated the top selections from both the Eastern and Western Conference results.

Headlining the First Team is Red Tilson Trophy recipient and OHL scoring leader Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s who becomes the first 67’s player to be selected to the League’s First All-Star Team since Tyler Toffoli in 2011-12. The top 2020 NHL Draft prospect led the entire Canadian Hockey League with 120 points, producing at a 2.14 point-per-game clip for the OHL’s first place team. Joining Rossi in the forward ranks was OHL goal-scoring leader Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect who lit the lamp 55 times in just 46 games. Flanking the right side is Los Angeles Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs who scored 48 goals and posted 98 points in 57 games. OHL Defenceman of the Year Noel Hoefenmayer of the Ottawa 67’s stands out on the blue line after recording a league-best 82 points including 26 goals over 58 games. Top draft eligible rearguard Jamie Drysdale joins Hoefenmayer on the back end after a sophomore season with the Erie Otters that included 47 points over 49 games. Fellow Canadian National Junior Team gold medalist Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm, who was voted OHL Goaltender of the Year, was appointed as a First Team All-Star netminder after posting a league-high .924 save percentage and five shutouts. OHL Coach of the Year Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s rounds out the group, being voted to the OHL’s First All-Star Team for a second consecutive year.

Washington Capitals first round pick Connor McMichael is positioned down the middle on the Second Team, joined by wingers in 111-point scorer Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit and fifth-year overage veteran Joseph Garreffa of the Ottawa 67’s. Dallas Stars first round selection Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads joins New Jersey Devils prospect Kevin Bahl on the back end while 2020 OHL Humanitarian of the Year and Los Angeles Kings prospect Jacob Ingham of the Kitchener Rangers holds down the crease. Dale Hunter of the London Knights was voted Second Team Head Coach, being selected to an All-Star Team for the sixth time in his OHL coaching career.

Top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves was voted Third Team centreman. He’s accompanied on the wings by Guelph Storm 45-goal scorer Pavel Gogolev and Sarnia Sting overage veteran Sean Josling who led his team with 78 points. The Third Team defence corps consists of the London Knights tandem of Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alec Regula and San Jose Sharks first round pick Ryan Merkley while Ottawa 67’s netminder Cedrick Andree is in goal. George Burnett of the Guelph Storm was voted to an OHL All-Star Team for the seventh time in his career, being named Third Team Head Coach.

A total of 11 teams were represented among the All-Star selections led by the Hamilton Spectator Trophy recipient Ottawa 67’s with six including First Team members Rossi, Hoefenmayer and Tourigny, Second Team selections Garreffa and Bahl and Third Team selection Andree. The Midwest Division champion London Knights trailed with four selections including Second Team members McMichael and coach Dale Hunter as well as Third Team defenders Merkley and Regula.

The Ontario Hockey League also unveiled its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2019-20 season.

OHL Rookie of the Year and 2019 OHL Priority Selection first overall pick Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs headlined the First All-Rookie Team, being joined by former Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget teammates in second overall OHL Priority Selection choice Brennan Othmann of the Flint Firebirds and fourth overall pick Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts on the back end. Sudbury Wolves winger Chase Stillman and Finnish-born Windsor Spitfires rearguard Ruben Rafkin joined London Knights standout netminder Brett Brochu in completing the First Team.

The Second Team is centred by 2019 fifth overall OHL Priority Selection choice and Peterborough Petes 29-goal scorer Mason McTavish. He’s joined up front by CHL Import Draft selections and 2020 NHL Draft prospects Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs and Oliver Suni of the Oshawa Generals. On the blue line, North Bay Battalion rearguard Paul Christopoulos joins Saginaw Spirit defender Mitchell Smith in front of North Bay goaltender Joe Vrbetic to round out the group.

A total of 10 different teams were represented among the All-Rookie Team selections led by the Kingston Frontenacs and North Bay Battalion with a pair each.

2019-20 OHL All-Star Teams:

First All-Star Team:
C – Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (OHL’s Most Outstanding Player) – voted 2nd all-rookie team in 2018-19
LW – Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes
RW – Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs – voted 2nd team in 2018-19, 2nd all-rookie team in 2017-18
D – Noel Hoefenmayer, Ottawa 67’s (OHL Defenceman of the Year)
D – Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
G – Nico Daws, Guelph Storm (OHL Goaltender of the Year)
Coach – Andre Tourigny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL Coach of the Year) – voted 1st team in 2018-19

Second All-Star Team:
C – Connor McMichael, London Knights
LW – Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
RW – Joseph Garreffa, Ottawa 67’s
D – Thomas Harley, Mississauga Steelheads – voted 3rd team in 2018-19
D – Kevin Bahl, Ottawa 67’s
G – Jacob Ingham, Kitchener Rangers – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2016-17
Coach – Dale Hunter, London Knights – voted 3rd team in 2018-19, 1st team in 2009-10, 2nd team in 2005-06, 1st team in 2004-05, 1st team in 2003-04

Third All-Star Team:
C – Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves – voted 1st all-rookie team in 2018-19
LW – Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm
RW – Sean Josling, Sarnia Sting
D – Alec Regula, London Knights – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2017-18
D – Ryan Merkley, London Knights – voted 1st team all-rookie in 2016-17
G – Cedrick Andree, Ottawa 67’s
Coach – George Burnett, Guelph Storm – voted 2nd team in 2012-13, 2nd team in 2008-09, 3rd team in 2007-08, 2nd team in 1997-98, 1st team in 1991-92, 1st team in 1990-91

2019-20 OHL All-Rookie Teams:

First All-Rookie Team:
C – Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL Rookie of the Year)
LW – Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds
RW – Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves
D – Brandt Clarke, Barrie Colts
D – Ruben Rafkin, Windsor Spitfires
G – Brett Brochu, London Knights

Second All-Rookie Team:
C – Mason McTavish, Peterborough Petes
LW – Martin Chromiak, Kingston Frontenacs
RW – Oliver Suni, Oshawa Generals
D – Paul Christopoulos, North Bay Battalion
D – Mitchell Smith, Saginaw Spirit
G – Joe Vrbetic, North Bay Battalion

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.