NAHL alum Smith signs and makes NHL debut with Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes General Manager Bill Armstrong announced that the Coyotes have signed forward and NAHL alum Nathan Smith to a two-year entry-level contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We are very pleased to sign Nate to a two-year contract," said Armstrong. "Nate was one of the best forwards in the NCAA this season and helped lead Minnesota State to the Frozen Four championship game. We are very excited to have him join our organization."
One day after signing his entry-level contract, Smith made his NHL debut for the Coyotes, playing 14:02 with a shot on goal in a 6-2 home loss to New Jersey. "It felt pretty good to make my NHL debut. It was my first NHL game, so I was a bit nervous going into it, but once I got out there for warmups and got my first couple of shifts under my belt, it started to feel a little bit better. I just tried to keep it simple and play hard defensively and see what the best outcome was,” said Smith.
The 23-year-old Smith registered 19-31-50 with 43 penalty minutes (PIM) in 38 games this season with Minnesota State (NCAA). He helped the Mavericks reach the Frozen Four championship game vs. Denver. Smith, who was a Hobey Baker top 10 finalist, finished the season ranked second in the NCAA in points and tied for third in assists. He led the Mavericks in points and assists (tied) and ranked second on the team in goals.
In his third season with the Mavericks, Smith was selected as the CCHA's 2021-22 Forward of the Year and was named First Team All-CCHA. Additionally, he was honored as a two-time CCHA Forward of the Month and three-time CCHA Forward of the Week this season.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward set collegiate career highs in goals, points, shots (102) and game-winning goals (4) in 2021-22. Smith totaled 37-65-102 in 101 career games with Minnesota State.
The Hudson, FL native represented Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics where he collected 1-1-2 in four games and scored the GWG in a win over Germany.
Smith was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the third round (91st overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft. He was acquired by the Coyotes from the Jets on March 21, 2022.
Smith played in the NAHL during the 2016-17 season with the Aberdeen Wings. He appeared in four games in December and January that season and had two points. His first career NAHL goal was a game-winning goal in a 3-2 win over Brookings on December 31, 2016.