Vegas Golden Knights Report Card: Reilly Smith

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SAN JOSE, CA – APRIL 10: Reilly Smith #19 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates during the first period against the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 10, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Our 2018-19 Vegas Golden Knights Report Cards return today as we take a look at Reilly Smith’s impressive year.

Reilly Smith: Grade A

Reilly Smith was a force for the Vegas Golden Knights in both zones in 2018-19, further establishing his status as a key force on one of the best lines in the NHL.

His season

Reilly Smith, like so many of his team-mates, had enjoyed a sublime inaugural year in Vegas and forged one part of one of the best lines in the entire NHL alongside William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault.

The deadly trio combined for 213 points during the regular season in 2017-18, in addition to putting up a further combined total of 58 points in the playoffs as the Knights marched all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Expectations were high for a franchise still in its infancy heading into 2018-19 and, despite a disappointing early postseason exit and a dip in production, it was still an impressive year for Smith on a personal note.

It was the perfect start to the year for Smith after he collected a milestone against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct, 11, tallying his 100th career goal.

That set the tone for what was to come as the 28-year-old continued to go from strength-to-strength for the Golden Knights.

He embarked on a hot streak in November as he recorded a point in five straight games from Nov. 18-24, tallying a total of eight points throughout the month.

The right-wing operated at nearly a point-per-game pace after the All-Star Break and went on a dominant tear during the second-half of the season.

Smith collected 26 points in just 27 games as the Golden Knights clinched a playoff berth for the second successive year.

There were also numerous highlights to digest throughout the year, including a career-high four-point game against the San Jose Sharks on Mar, 18, where Smith posted a goal and three assists.

Just five days later he racked up another personal milestone after skating in his 500th game in the NHL, before making it three consecutive seasons with a shorthanded goal after netting a shorty against the Detroit Red Wings.

And then there was this sublime goal that Smith scored through his own legs against the Florida Panthers, which you can see for yourselves below:

Smith finished 2018-19 with 19 goals and 34 assists for 53 points, his second-best statistical year in the majors, in addition to 14 points on the power play.

However, perhaps more impressive was his work in the defensive zone where he achieved a career-high in takeaways with 67.

If that wasn’t enough then Smith also dished out 39 hits and blocked 33 shots, cementing his status as a dominant two-way forward in the NHL.

He logged an average of 18:16 minutes of ice time per night, an increase from the 17:55 he averaged the year before, and he also put 178 shots on goal which was good enough for another career-high.

Smith was also playing at the peak of his powers in the postseason with one goal and five assists for six points in seven games, including two power play points and a pair of two-point nights.

A steady if not a spectacular player in the NHL prior his 2017 NHL Expansion Draft pickup by the Knights, Smith has been a revelation in Vegas and his chemistry with Karlsson and Marchessault has transformed their team into a genuine Stanley Cup contender.

After having a much longer summer break this year, Smith will be expected to return to training camp sharp and ready to once again fire the Golden Knights towards the postseason and hopefully a first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

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