Hockey: Former Warrior Smith signs contract

Former Brained Warrior Cole Smith to be with Nashville for at least another year.

Brainerd Warriors graduate and Nashville Predators forward Cole Smith skates during a shift in his NHL debut Thursday, Jan. 14, against the Columbus Blue Jackets. John Russell / Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE — Former Brainerd Warrior and University of North Dakota skater Cole Smith signed a one-year $775,000 contract with the Nashville Predators for the 2023-24 season.

Smith, 27, has recorded 11 points (two goals and nine assists) in 42 games for the Predators this season, his first full NHL campaign.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound left wing has three points (two goals and one assist) in his last four games, during which he scored his first career NHL goal on Jan. 21 vs. Los Angeles.

His 112 hits on the season are the second-most of any Nashville forward and are the third-most among all team skaters; he also averages 1:56 of shorthanded ice time and is one of four Predators players to tally a shorthanded point (1a) in 2022-23.

Undrafted, Smith has appeared in 51 career NHL games since making his League debut with Nashville on the opening night of the 2020-21 season. He spent the majority of last season with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, where he skated in 59 games and posted 41 points (21g-20a), the fourth-most on his team. It was a 31-point improvement from his rookie AHL campaign (2020-21), when he tallied five goals and five assists in 23 contests for the Chicago Wolves.


Signed as a free agent in March 2020 following a four-year career at the University of North Dakota, Smith posted 51 points (24g-27a) in 137 games for the Fighting Hawks, and as a senior in 2019-20, he contributed a career-high 18 points (11g-7a) en route to winning the NCHC's regular-season title.

The Brainerd native earned multiple team awards while at North Dakota, including the Cliff "Fido" Purpur Award in 2018-19, given to the Fighting Hawks player who exemplifies hard work and determination, and the Most Improved Player Award following his sophomore season.

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