New Jersey Devils: Ty Smith Is On A Superstar Trajectory

New Jersey Devils defenseman Ty Smith (24): (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils defenseman Ty Smith (24): (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New York Rangers have themselves a very good young defenseman in Adam Fox. He’s doing everything they were hoping they’d get from Jacob Trouba. He’s skating all over the ice, he’s shutting down great forwards, and he’s driving offense all by himself. Everyone is talking about how well Fox is playing, and he’s even getting some underground Norris Trophy buzz (although, it’s still Victor Hedman‘s trophy to lose). The New Jersey Devils are lucky enough to have their own top defenseman that might be on a similar trajectory as Fox.

Ty Smith was straight up dominant on Tuesday night, and it’s a sign of a defenseman who is getting more and more comfortable on the ice. He played just over 15 minutes at 5v5, put up a 72% CF percentage (only Jack Hughes had a better one against the Philadelphia Flyers), and his high-danger numbers were absolutely insane. He was on the ice for six high danger chances on offense, but he didn’t see one high-danger chance on Mackenzie Blackwood while he was on the ice. Somehow, his partner Damon Severson was on the ice for two high-danger chances against.

The Flyers were only able to get four shots off in the roughly 19 total minutes he was on the ice. The Devils power play even looked much better when he was on the ice despite not having Jack Hughes paired with him. (That needs to be rectified, but that’s a topic for another time.) Stopping a team with as much talent as Philadelphia from even getting shots off is impressive for a young defenseman.

The sky is literally the limit for Smith. Could he be one of the best defensemen in the league? Sure. Can he turn into a great 1B option as the Devils look for their top guy? Maybe, but he’s only 21 years old (which he literally just turned today, so Happy Birthday Ty!), and there’s still a lot of growing to do. If he can already put up performances at this age, then with the right development he could carry the Devils defense.

Smith and Fox seem destined to be in the same conversation for the next decade. Maybe the New York Islanders’ Noah Dobson will be in that conversation later, but for now it’s Fox and Smith going side by side. Many talk about the three-headed monster that is in the (what is usually) Western Conference with Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, and Miro Heiskanen. However, the Devils have themselves an absolute gem. Smith is going to be in these conversations for the foreseeable future.