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Will Smith (24.01)



Skating:

Will Smith is an excellent skater. I wouldn't say elite but has smooth strides and great footwork. He is very fast when he wants to be. This will be a recurring them throughout this report as he is inconsistent or his compete level just isn't always there.


Passing/Handling:

This kid absolutely oozes skill. His hands are softer than silk and at times he seems to effortlessly evade defense and dipsy-doodle around opponents with ease. His passing is one of his best attributes due to his IQ and vision. He seems to be able to thread the puck through an arsenal of opposing bodies and sticks and still be right on target. He has the ability to make quick, blind passes and almost always finds his man. But again there are games he makes sloppy passes, and he doesn't seem to attempt to dangle around anyone. Again I can only speculate why this is, but it's like he needs to build up his confidence or he is invisible on the ice.


Shooting:

Smith has a cannon of a wrist shot and he is pretty accurate with it, too. He has a good slapper/one-timer also and seems to be able to turn on a dime and shoot and finds the back of the net.


IQ (Vision, Anticipation, Panic/Poise):

Vision I would argue IS his best attribute as he seems to know where everybody is all the time when he's on his game. He can spin and pass and hit the tape and through opponents sticks while doing it. When he's off though his vision, like all his talents seems to be almost indistinguishable from anyone else. Depending on which Will Smith you get he either makes a dynamic, impossible play under pressure or he panics and makes a bad pass, or misses the net. His IQ is very high and when he's on this kid is a very dangerous highlight machine.


Forechecking:

Smith has a good stick and will pressure defenders but he's not overly aggressive, he doesn't hit and he doesn't go into the corners to do the dirty work. He always is open, which again is a testament to his IQ and anticipation, but he doesn't battle for the puck but relies on his teammates to do this. I fear his compete level is quite low.


Defense:

I echo the sentiment in his forechecking report. Compete level is low. He will hustle back at times but rarely involves himself down low, often floating higher in the zone offering little to no support for his d-men. He will break out early and as he moves up the ranks of the hockey world this will start to burn him and his team. He has a good stick and his high D-zone play has led to interceptions and breakaways which is undoubtedly what he wants to do but often it leads to an opposing team goal or at least scoring chance.


Best Asset:

IQ/Vision/Hands - His incredible vision and smarts mixed with his unbelievable talent is what makes Will Smith a prime candidate to be a superstar. It is impressive to watch and I do believe that level of talent will translate to the NHL.


Biggest Concern:

Compete/Inconsistencies - Some games you barely even notice Smith. He looks uninterested in playing and honestly looks like he doesn't try. It's certainly a coachable problem and one that, though concerning, doesn't take away that his immense skill is always right there waiting to be unleashed.


Top Tier/Role Potential:

Tier 1 - 90-100 points - Shot heavy BASH


Justification for Top Tier Assessment:

Skill and Smarts - He absolutely has superstar written all over him if he can over come the inconsistencies.


50th Percentile Tier/Role:

Tier 2 - 60-80 Points - Shot Heavy BASH


Justification for 50th Percentile Tier Assessment:

Even with his inconsistent play I do believe the talent Smith possesses will still allow him to hit close to ppg totals.


Stylistic Comparable:

Alexei Kovalev 40-50-90


Scouts Final Thoughts and Additional Stats/Info:

Will Smith is such an incredible talent. His smarts, vision and raw skill make him almost a surefire superstar - except for one major flaw - his inconsistent play. Granted there are games where even though he looks invisible he finds ways to score. However this will be what holds him back from truly being a household name in the NHL. He reminds me so much of Kovalev as all of the raw talent is on tap waiting to be unleashed and yet some games he looks like he's disinterested. Smith is a blue-chip prospect and should be highly valued as I think his floor is 60 points as an NHLer and obviously even a slight improvement on consistent compete level would greatly appreciate my assessment of his floor.


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