The move came one day after Smith -- re-signed to a four-year, $17 million deal last June -- was waived on his 29th birthday.
New York coach Alain Vigneault said captain Ryan McDonagh was out Friday night against Calgary due to an upper-body injury and could miss the team's upcoming trip to Winnipeg and Minnesota. The Rangers will return to New York to visit the crosstown-rival Islanders next Thursday.
The Rangers called up John Gilmour from the AHL club and put him in the lineup against the Flames for his NHL debut. The 24-year-old defenseman had six goals and 20 assists in 44 games for the Wolf Pack this season.
Neal Pionk, called up from Hartford on Thursday, was also set to make his NHL debut, marking the first the the Rangers had two defensemen playing their initial games since Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy on Oct. 2, 2009, at Pittsburgh.
New York has lost 11 of its last 15 games and began the day in last place in the tight Metropolitan Division, three points behind Columbus and the Islanders for the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.