Thunder fourth-liner plays above his spot on depth chart
By: Nick Kuhl
| Posted: Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 06:00 am
Logan Smith hasn’t minded his minimal role with the Airdrie Thunder this season.
The 18-year-old rookie from Airdrie has six goals and six assists in 32 games for Airdrie during the 2011-12 season – most of which has come while playing on the fourth line.
But Smith, who grew up playing with Airdrie Minor Hockey, said he is just happy to be on the team, after he went through tryouts in August without any sort of expectation of making the roster.
“I worked hard to make my way onto the team,” he said. “I don’t think they were looking at me off the bat, but I feel like I made them notice me. It’s been pretty fun and there are a bunch of good guys on the team.”
“Smitty has a very important role on the team,” said assistant coach Gareth Barley. “He came onto this team as a 13th or 14th forward, but he’s worked his way to where it’s hard to take him out of the lineup. He’s a gifted player and sees the ice well. He’s the type of guy you want in the room.”
Smith tried out for several Junior A teams in the AJHL prior to joining the Thunder, but said he is content playing in Airdrie, as it is both home for him and close to his off-ice pursuits as a first-year engineering student.
“I tried out for higher teams and guess it just wasn’t my thing,” he said. “But I’m going to school at SAIT in Calgary, so this is a good spot for me to play Junior B. Now, I feel as if my hard work has gotten me more ice time. I’ve been playing on the fourth line most of the year, but got moved up to the third line a few times, as well playing some on the penalty kill and power play.”
“He’s the best defensive forward on our team, he’s grown into that, and he’s grown into a great penalty killer,” Barley said. “We know he has an offensive upside, but that will come. He’s got three more years in this league and he’ll probably keep moving up a line every year.”
Smith has three years left at SAIT and said he would like to continue playing with the Thunder moving forward.
“That’s my plan,” he said. “I’ll probably play here all three years if I can. I guess we’ll see how it goes.”
He hopes the Thunder, which will open its first round playoff series against the Mountainview Colts on Feb. 12, can make a deep run into the playoffs.
“I think we have the talent and drive to win the whole playoffs,” Smith said. “And go to Westerns and win Westerns. We just have to put it all out on the ice. I just want to contribute to the team and work as hard as I can.”