April 2, 2010
MADISON, Wis. – Junior defenseman Brendan Smith was named Insidecollegehockey.com’s Defenseman of the Year.
A first-round draft pick of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, he leads the nation’s rear guards with 15 goals, 32 assists and 47 points, outpacing the nation’s next closest defenseman by nine points and the next WCHA defenseman by 19 points. Smith’s point total is the most for a defenseman since Denver Hobey Baker Award winner Matt Carle posted 53 in 2005-06.
Smith, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the All-WCHA First Team and last weekend was voted to the 2010 NCAA West Regional All-Tournament Team.
One of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award in 2010, Smith leads Division I defensemen in goals, power-play goals, assists, and points.
The Mimico, Ontario native broke out in a big way for the Badgers, more than doubling the point total he amassed during his first two seasons in Madison. Certainly, part of his success was due to playing a larger role on the team’s power play; Smith scored 11 power-play goals for Wisconsin, a number eclipsed by only five players the country. But much of it has to do with finally staying healthy for an entire season. After missing a combined 27 games during his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Smith played in all but one of his team’s 41 games this year.
Smith is a great skater and an excellent puck mover with terrific vision. As a power-play quarterback, he’s second to none and he has an uncanny knack for sneaking into the soft spots of an opponent’s penalty kill, where he’ll lock and load, ready to receive a feed and unleash a wicked one timer.
Smith will no doubt have a lot of fans cheering for him at the Frozen Four. In addition to the Wisconsinites hoping he can help lead the team to a second national title in five seasons, he’ll also have support in Detroit from followers of a local NHL club whose color scheme is similar to that of the Badgers. Winged-wheel watchers will like what they see.