Brendan Smith Settling in as a Ranger

Defenseman Brendan Smith had his debut as a New York Ranger on Thursday night in a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.

Overall, Smith played well and was pleased with his first game. In his postgame conference, head coach Alain Vigneault said he was also pleased with his new blueliner’s performance.

Smith was acquired Tuesday from Detroit in exchange for two draft picks. He was at Madison Square Garden for the Rangers’ game against Washington, practiced Wednesday with the team and participated Thursday in Boston. He had two blocked shots and one hit in 20:51 of ice time.

He said that although it’s a challenge to step into a new lineup with only one practice under his belt, his defensive partner Ryan McDonagh has helped him from the start.

“It is kind of tough to learn a system in a couple days,” Smith said Thursday after the game.”I think the big reason was [McDonagh] helped out so much. He’s a fantastic player. He was talking to me the whole time.”

Smith stated that there’s a few things he needs to fix in his game, but that he’s happy overall with his first outing and will build from it.

“He played a good game.” Vigneault said. “Coming in and playing against their top line, I thought he did a good job. The more he gets used to his new teammates, I’m sure the better he’s going to be.”

One aspect of being a Ranger that Smith stated he particularly enjoys is playing in front of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. As one of the best in the game, it is understandably different to play with Lundqvist rather than against him.

Assessing his new team as a whole, one thing that stood out to Smith is how fast New York plays. “I love the speed. You’ve got guys – and we’re even missing [Michael] Grabner who’s got lots of speed.”

“We can turn it on like that and I think our start wasn’t our best but we built from it and we got better,” Smith continued. “We found a way to get two points on the road. Sometimes it’s hard. That’s a good team but we found a way.”

With under 20 games left in the regular season, it’ll be fun to watch how the rest plays out.

Rangers Acquire Defenseman Brendan Smith From Detroit

In their only move before the trade deadline, the New York Rangers have acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit in exchange for two draft picks.

The trade includes the Rangers’ third round pick in this year’s Entry Draft and Ottawa’s second round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, which the Rangers acquired after sending Derrick Brassard to Ottawa in the offseason for Mika Zibanejad.

Yes, the Rangers have a habit of trading away important draft picks but in this case, this was a good move.

Smith has skated in 291 career NHL games over a span of six seasons, spending his career so far with Detroit after being drafted 27th overall in 2007. He signed a three-year entry level contract in May 2010 and made his NHL debut on November 17, 2011. He’s tallied 67 career points, 15 goals and 52 assists, along with 281 penalty minutes.

In the 2013-14 season, Smith notched career-highs in goals (five), assists (14) and points (19). As a member of the Red Wings, he has played in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, tallying six points (two goals and four assists) and a plus-one rating in 27 games.

This season, he has played in 33 games, registering two goals, three assists and 34 penalty minutes. He averages 18:44 of ice time, which was a career high and gave him the fourth rank among Detroit defensemen last season.

The Rangers have had various injuries on defense all season, so adding a veteran like Smith will only benefit the team overall. He could be one of the top defensive pairings and be a mentor for the younger players.

Smith will have some familiar faces on his new team. He played three seasons for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh and center Derek Stepan.