Saturday

Derrick Smith

Derrick Smith (not to be confused with Derek Smith) was a big banging left winger for the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1980s. He would also see time with the Minnesota/Dallas Stars.

Smith was a real Mike Keenan favorite. His entire game depended on physical play and bone crunching body checks. At 6'2" 210 pounds, Smith made his presence felt more often than not when he was on the ice. Smith's upper body strength and balance on his skates made him a valuable NHL corner man often compared to a former Flyers teammate Rick Tocchet.

However, unlike Tocchet Derrick didn't have the natural skills that Rick had. Though he was a good skater and had good defensive hockey sense, he lacked the puck handling skills and offensive creativeness to take advantage of the numerous offensive opportunities that his relentless forechecking created. He often would come out of the corner with the puck but didn't really have the ability to make a play with the puck. Thus he was largely a one dimensional hockey player - good forechecker and good body checker.

So good was Derrick Smith that Team Canada offered him a try-out for the 1987 Canada Cup team. Though he was one of the last cuts, that team went on to an unforgettable victory of the Soviets.

Smith was also a nice part of two Flyers teams, 1985 and 1987, that advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. Unfortunately for the Flyers, both appearances pitted them against Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers in the height of their Stanley Cup dynasty.

Smith was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1983, 44th overall. He had his best offensive season in his rookie season with the Flyers when he scored 17 goals and 39 points. Twice more in his career he scored 16 goals. Smith was claimed on waivers by Minnesota in 1991 but he would end up play more in the minors than with the Stars.

Smith left the NHL for good after only one game played in the 1993-94. In 537 games he scored 82 goals and 174 points. He added another 14 goals and 25 points in 82 playoff games, most of which were with the Flyers.

Smith was a really useful player - good defensively, a top forechecker and a physical presence while taking few penalties (373 PIM in 537 games). He could play on my team any time.

3 comments:

Michelle O'Brien,  6:56 PM  

Not only was Derrick Smith the "silent golden child" fpr the Flyers when he played in Philly, but he was also a great guy off the ice as well! His time spent with the Big Brothers organization was not well known by many, but for the fortunate few that got the chance to see his softer side, his dedication to helping out whenever possible will never be forgotten! I'm sure no matter where he is now, Derrick is still a successful, modest man!

susan burgess 5:44 PM  

just saw derrick smith on tv during the flyers game against the panthers.i had the pleasure of entering and winning a date with derrick in 1990 and you are right he is a great guy on and off the ice.
susan burgess

Goose,  7:21 PM  

As a personal friend of Derricks, I have fond memmories of Derrick's kind heart and good will towards others. Derrick has many friends from ontario (Canada) as well as many close friends from New jersey, Where Derrick lived in Cherry Hill while playing for the Flyers. My sympathies to you Derrick and your family at the passing of your brother in law Bob Probert this past weekend
Your friend always-- Goose

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