Oakville native looking to prove NHL scouts wrong


Oakville native Jake Smith is out to prove NHL scouts wrong.

The 18-year-old North Bay Battalion goaltender is looking to make teams regret passing him up after he wasn’t selected during the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

While Smith has turned the page on being overlooked in his first year of eligibility, going undrafted will provide him with extra motivation to succeed this season.

“Yeah for sure,” Smith said. “I’m definitely going to use it as motivation to prove to teams I can be one of the top goalies in this league and how I should definitely be a goalie to look out for.”

Smith was hoping to be drafted, but he wasn’t too surprised he was passed over in June.

“I was a little disappointed, but I wasn’t really expecting to (be drafted) being a backup (goaltender) and rookie in the league,” said Smith. “I’m going to get more opportunities to play (as the starter)…I have higher expectations this year.”

OHL scout Dominic Tiano also expects more from Smith this year.

“He has the ability to carry his team into a playoff spot,” Tiano said. “Barring an injury or trade, that’s what I expect to happen.”

Tiano thinks it’s key for Smith not to be discouraged from being passed over in the draft.

“Smith needs to remember that not being drafted doesn’t mean it’s the end of a professional career,” said Tiano. “If he plays to his strengths and works with goaltending coach Rob Beatty on his weakness, he’ll get noticed.”

Smith’s main focus is on the team heading into the season.

“I want to go as far (in the playoffs) as we can,” said Smith. “We have a great team and not much has changed from last year, so I think we have a great chance (to go far) in the league this year.”

If he plays well, Smith hopes the rest will take care of itself.

“I just want to give the team a chance to win every single game and hopefully get drafted in my second year.”