Nathan Smith joins Arizona Coyotes, set to make NHL debut
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Following the Minnesota State men’s hockey team’s historic run to the national championship game, forward Nathan Smith is moving on to the National Hockey League.
”These young men grow up with the dream of pulling a National Hockey League sweater over their shoulders. He’s going to have that opportunity,” head coach Mike Hastings said.
The Arizona Coyotes selected the contract of the All-American to a two-year entry-level deal.
Smith’s rights were traded to Arizona this past month after originally being drafted by Winnipeg in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft.
The 23-year-old finished second in the nation in scoring and first on the Mavericks with 50 points on 19 goals and 31 assists.
Smith played a big role in helping MSU reach this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey National Championship game and finished his collegiate career with 102 points in 101 games.
”He came in an incredibly talented hockey player, left a very balanced young man that’s prepared for whatever life throws at him and understands there’s more to successful hockey than scoring goals. He rounded himself out this last year, I think, to a player that plays a complete 200-foot game,” Hastings said.
Outside of starring for the Mavericks, Smith also hit the ice for Team USA for this year’s Winter Olympics, finishing with a goal and an assist in the competition.
Head coach Mike Hastings talks about bringing in players that leave the program better than when they started, certainly true for Smith, who played in two Frozen Fours.
He’s set to make his NHL debut Tuesday night when Arizona squares off against New Jersey.
One date to keep an eye on is April 26 when Smith returns to Minnesota with the Coyotes to battle the Minnesota Wild.
”We’re working on some stuff right now. All the guys want to go to that. He’s a great teammate to us, and we’re excited he can play on the biggest stage there is. I think that’ll be cool to be up there, enjoy that time together and see Smitty playing up there as well,” senior defenseman Wyatt Aamodt said.
Maverick fans certainly won’t forget about all the good memories of Smith in an MSU sweater anytime soon.
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