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Prospect Reilly Smith looks to build on big season

Stars prospect Reilly Smith was one of the most productive players in college hockey this past season, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some bumps along the way. And he used one of those bumps to his advantage.

Smith, who plays at Miami University, was one of four college players invited to Canada’s World Junior selection camp in December, but he ended up being among the first players cut.

“It was a good experience. It didn’t come out the way I wanted to, but I’ll take it is as a learning curve,” said the 20-year-old Smith.

That camp, featuring many of the best under-20 players in Canada, was played at a high level and at a high pace.

“It took a couple days to adapt to it, which probably hurt my chances of making the team. But it helped me incorporate it into the college game and my style of play,” said Smith, one of the Stars’ forward prospects with good offensive potential. ”That helped my game. After that break I felt I really had my feet under me. That camp was at a high level and going back to college that gave me an extra boost of confidence.”

Over his final 21 games Smith registered 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) and finished the season with 28 goals and 26 assists in 38 games. The 28 goals were tops on Miami and ranked fourth nationally. He finished seventh in the nation with 54 points. Smith, a sophomore, was First-Team All-CCHA and was named Second-Team All-America by the College Hockey News and Third-Team All-America by Inside College Hockey.

“Reilly Smith arguably is one of the top players in college hockey this year,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development. “Great instincts, great game feel, skates and handles every part of the game. The only thing he needs still is to physically develop.”

The speedy, skilled Smith was listed as 6-1, 175 pounds by Miami last season, but he said he was up to 185 pounds at Dallas’ recent development camp in McKinney. Smith, a third round pick (69th overall) in 2009, was impressive at the development camp and he could be ready to turn pro after next season.

Next season will his junior campaign at Miami and there will be challenges. There were times last season when Smith lined up with Andy Miele and Carter Camper at Miami and those three players ended up in the top seven in the nation in scoring. But Miele and Camper have moved on to the pro ranks and Smith will be a veteran leader on the club.

“I’ve got to give all of the credit to some of my linemates. Andy Miele won the Hobey Baker. There’s no way I’d have as many points or as much success without him,” said Smith. “It’s going to be tough this next year, but hopefully I can step into the role and do what he did for Miami last year.”

Quotable

“He’s a great kid, tough kid to live with though. He’s pretty messy, but every now and then he’ll do the dishes so that’s a reason to have him.”

Reilly Smith on his Miami University roommate and teammate Curtis McKenzie, a fifth round pick (159th overall) by the Dallas Stars in 2009