Originally posted on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 4/13/13
When the Sens shocked the hockey world last season by making the playoffs in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Zack Smith was a big part of it. He improved tremendously on his 2010-11 season, scoring 17 more points, and solidified himself as a gritty 3rd line center with some offensive ability. His 2011-12 season gained him a ton of praise from the team and fans alike, and earned himself a $1.887 million extension, which kicks in next year. After going goal-less for the first 23 games of the season, and with just 4 goals total to date, Zack Smith has been on the receiving end of some criticism for his lack of production. One reason for his struggles is that the bounces aren’t going his way. Here are his numbers from 5-on-5:   Goals/60 Assists/60 Shots/60 On-Ice SH% Corsi% 11-12 0.72 0.66 7.63 8.12 50.4% 12-13 0.42 1.27 7.6 4.62 53.1%   Despite shooting at the same rate, Smith is scoring fewer goals, most likely because of bad luck. Some may argue over the quality of those shots, but according to the league’s shot distance measurements, Smith’s average shot distance is about 4 feet closer to the net than last year, although the accuracy of those measurements are questionable. Smith’s Corsi rating has improved despite less favorable usage. Last year Smith was 8th in quality of competition among Senators forwards, but ranks 1st this season, meaning MacLean has been playing his line against the opponent’s top forward units more often. This could be because MacLean has more faith in him, or because of lost forward depth to injuries, forcing the team to dress an all-rookie second line which needs to be sheltered. His possession numbers have also increased despite no longer getting minutes with Karlsson and Condra. Smith's increased Corsi rating despite no longer being with as good linemates (possession-wise) is an indication that he's making the players around him better. Smith has also seemingly improved at face-offs, as he is winning about 3.5% more draws this year, making him a better option for defensive zone draws. One part of Smith’s game that he has done worse in is drawing penalties, as he is no longer drawing them at the same rate as he was last season. He is also being used a lot less on the penalty kill, although I’m fine with that since he wasn’t very good at it anyways. Conclusion All these numbers point to Smith being a better player this year despite not being able to find the back of the net. Most of his criticism is due to his shooting percentage regressing after a season where he got some luck in his favour. This goes to show how our perception of a player changes when he isn’t “getting the bounces”, even if he’s playing better. There are only 7 games left in the season, so I’m sure we’ll see a lot of people heading into next season wondering whether his 2011-12 season was a fluke or not, and if he’s actually deserving of his new extension. I'm confident that Smith's shooting percentage will regress to a more realistic number. Best case scenario for the Sens would be if that could happen in the playoffs. Stats are stats.hockeyanalysis.com and Behind The Net
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’


Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker