With the NHL preseason concluding on Saturday, teams now have until Monday afternoon to become salary cap compliant ahead of the 2022-23 season, leading to a busy day on the waiver wire. Among those names, the Red Wings placed Jussi Olkinuora, Taro Hirose, Kyle Criscuolo, and most notably, Givani Smith.
The 24-year-old winger spent all last season with the Red Wings, appearing in 46 games, scoring four goals and three assists. With the free agent additions of David Perron, Andrew Copp, and Dominik Kubalik, it was a reality that the Red Wings would likely have to move a forward off the roster.
Smith is a bit of a throwback player, as he prefers to stir things up by finishing his checks and dropping the gloves. While Smith showed some goal-scoring ability in the OHL with the Guelph Storm (finding the back of the net 26 times in 2016-17), he was never able to translate that at the pro level. Through training camp and the preseason, Smith could never put it all together and was a step behind other forwards competing for spots in Adam Erne, Joe Veleno, and Elmer Soderblom.
If he clears, Smith provides the Red Wings with much-needed depth at forward and, with the realities of an 82-game regular season, will likely be recalled to the NHL at some point. With a prospect-heavy team in Grand Rapids this season, having a player like Smith around the likes of Jonatan Berggren and Albert Johansson can help them play with more confidence every night.