Originally written on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 11/19/14

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 19: Jarkko Ruutu #73; Chris Campoli #14; Matt Carkner #39; Zack Smith #47 of the Ottawa Senators argues with the Chicago Blackhawks, at Scotiabank Place on January 19, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. The Ottawa Senators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

This afternoon the Senators announced that they have re-signed Zack Smith to a four-year extension that carries an average annual value of $1.887 million.

And it feels like an overpay.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Smith.

Of all the Binghamton graduates that came up from that 2011 Calder Cup winning team and became full-time regulars, I feel like he has the most upside out of any of them.

That blend of a physical, agitating style with some modest offensive production, is sure to ingratiate him to the blue collar masses (if it hasn’t already) who cry foul every time that Jason Spezza turns the puck over in the offensive zone.

“Dump and chase! Grit! Heart! Hustle! Fight! Give that Matt Carkner a blank check!”

(You get the idea.)

Getting back to Smith though, he’s a decent bottom six forward, but I don’t believe that he has entrenched himself as the team’s third line center. And certainly falls short of a projection to one day be "the best third-line center in the league" as Shean Donovan opined last season.

On the surface, that line of: 14 goals; 26 points; +4; 98 PIMS; and 168 hits looks pretty good but remember, this is a player who has only really had two productive months in the NHL. It also bears repeating that while he's a fresh young face in Ottawa, Smith actually turned 24 in April.

It was during the months of November and December last season when Smith scored on 10 of his 50 shots – good for a ridiculously inflated 20-percent shooting percentage – that led fans to believe that the Sens could have a poor man’s Mike Fisher on their hands; extrapolating this production and projecting a potential 40-point player.

Eventually, much like one of Fisher’s hot streaks, Smith regressed to the mean and put up numbers similar to his career rates. But, I can’t shake this nagging feeling that it was this 27 game stretch that management has romanticized. I mean, if we’re going to use small sample sizes to get some read of Smith, his last 20 regular season games left something to be desired. To put things in perspective, he was a player who had difficulty separating himself from the team’s other bottom six center, Jim O’Brien:

   Name      Zack Smith     Jim O'Brien   Age 24 23 Games 20 20 TOI/G 11:49 12:19 Goals 1 2 Assists 2 3 Points 3 5 Shots 30 25 Faceoff % 53.4 45.7
If you watched Smith down the stretch, you will know that he faded badly.

Granted, he could of been playing with some undisclosed injury or he could have simply hit the wall after coming off a long AHL championship season. It's hockey, it happens.

Maybe he'll enter the 2012/13 season rejuvenated after a lengthy offseason that can possibly be extended further by a potential lockout or maybe he won't. 

The truth is, to this point, I'm not sure anyone really knows what Smith is: Is he a good third line center? Will he eventually have to move to the wing? Can he take on top-six opposition and keep his head above water? Will the consistency issues always be there? 

It's worth mentioning that like the Kyle Turris contract extension, Smith's deal feels as though the organization is paying him based on potential as opposed to past production. 

So even though that $1.887 per season term may not be a hefty price tag relative to some of the other deals that are out there, if Smith cannot play at a more consistent level, it's going to leave fans hoping that this isn’t one of those Bryan Murray fugue state management decisions that leaves us shaking our heads and bemoaning the effects of Smith’s contract on the team’s payroll allocation. The fact that the Senators cap situation is pretty healthy currently helps to make a move like this a little more palatable.


Jay Cutler to start again due to Jimmy Clausen concussion

Aldon Smith was reportedly drinking with Ray McDonald

Johnny Manziel ruled out for Week 17 with injury

Dwyane Wade hopes Heat fans give LeBron a warm reception

Adam Silver: No NBA team is tanking

Penguins having three more players tested for mumps


Jay Cutler is not the answer for the Titans

Josh Smith released by Detroit Pistons in surprising move

13 amazing NFL stats from Week 16

JJ Watt's bloody face defines 2014 campaign

Dominic Raiola insists he didn't intentionally stomp opponent

Jets call themselves the best 3-12 team in NFL history

WATCH: BYU, Memphis fight after Miami Beach Bowl

FSU sends recruit 75 reasons to play for Seminoles

Dale Earnhardt Jr., girlfriend wear great Christmas sweaters

Brandon Marshall: Raiola mocked my mental illness

Don't mess with Seahawks punter Jon Ryan

Niners OT asked Manti Te'o about his fake girlfriend

Darren Sproles' wife Michel fires back at Eagles critics

Steve Smith expects 'couch quarterback' criticism

WATCH: Tennessee walk-on gets scholarship as bowl gift

Raiders player gives game check to young girl in need

Game of the week: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

Yankees pay for education of slain officer's children

NHL 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.

BYU, Memphis fight after bowl game

FSU sends recruit an eccentric pitch

Brandon Marshall unloads on Raiola

Did Aldon Smith violate probation?

Johnny Manziel ruled out for Week 17

An appreciation for Marshawn Lynch's crotch grab touchdown celebrations

D-Wade: Heat fans should cheer LeBron

Niners OT asked Te'o about fake girlfriend

Sproles' wife fires back at Eagles critics

Game of the week: Lions vs. Packers

'Manny' is the must-watch documentary about Manny Pacquiao

Breaking up the Brooklyn Nets

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.