Well-traveled Reilly Smith finds home with Golden Knights

Updated August 29, 2017 - 12:12 pm

Reilly Smith has proven during his NHL career he is proficient in two areas:

Scoring goals and packing boxes.

The Golden Knights are Smith’s fourth team, and the well-traveled 26-year-old hopes he finally found a city to call home as he prepares for his seventh season.

“It’s an exciting time,” Smith said. “My whole plan was to get down here early just to get acclimated, because I know when you’re moving from all the way across the country, there’s a lot of different aspects.”

Smith spoke last week during the Las Vegas stop of the Coast X Coast Foundation’s Ride For the Fallen, where he was joined by teammate Deryk Engelland.

The cross-country motorcycle ride, which began Friday in Los Angeles and concludes Sept. 11 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, raises money for healthcare for Special Operations Forces veterans.

The Knights acquired Smith from the Florida Panthers during the expansion draft in June in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick.

The deal marked the third time Smith has been traded in his career.

“Especially with the expansion draft and different rumors and things going around, I knew that there’s always an opportunity I may get moved to Vegas or even another place through a secondary trade,” Smith said. “I guess you get used it. Definitely a lot easier than the first time I got traded.”

Smith scored a career-high 25 goals during the 2015-16 season, helping Florida set a franchise record with 47 victories en route to the Atlantic Division title.

He signed a five-year, $25 million contract extension in July 2016, but saw his production dip (15 goals, 37 points) this past season as Florida slumped to a 35-36-11 record and missed the playoffs.

“Last year, it seemed like our team was plagued with a lot of injuries and things that just didn’t correlate into having a great season,” Smith said. “I had goals I set for myself that I didn’t reach, and I’d like to pick those back up this year and set my sights even higher.”

Smith has been reunited with coach Gerard Gallant, his coach in Florida, and is expected to be a top-six forward and special-teams contributor for the Knights.

The team also selected forward Jonathan Marchessault from the Panthers in the expansion draft and could pair the former teammates on a line together when training camp begins Sept. 14.

Smith, who started his career with Dallas before being traded to Boston in 2013, has 76 goals and 187 points in 365 career games.

“He’s got a good shot,” Engelland said. “He’s got hands. He can put the puck in the net, and I think if he gets the opportunity to play a big role, he’s going to contribute to the team in a big way.”

Smith was an assistant captain in Florida late in the 2015-16 season under Gallant and also figures to take on a leadership role with his latest team.

“It’s a great city and I think it’s going to be a great place to play,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, hockey is a business and you get moved, so I try to make the most of every opportunity. And that’s what I’m going to do here.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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