BOSTON – Reilly Smith has enjoyed just a single goal scored in his last 26 games amid a sputtering end to his first full season in Boston, but Saturday was a positive day all the same. Smith finished with a shot on net and a plus-1 in 15 minutes of active ice time in Boston’s 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, but his big moment was prior to the game when he was awarded NESN’s Seventh Player Award.
The Seventh Player Award was presented by Central Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Central Auto Team of Norwood, and voted on by Bruins fans online at NESN.com. The award is a longstanding annual recognition presented to the Bruin who exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the 2013-14 season.
Smith most certainly exceeded expectations coming into Boston as a little-discussed part of the Tyler Seguin/Loui Eriksson trade last summer, and he’s finishing up his first B’s campaign on the verge of scoring 20 goals as a viable offensive threat. Smith has spent nearly the entire season as a part of the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand after making the team out of training camp, and his next goal will hand him a 20 goal/50 point season.
“It’s a good experience. Some of the names that have won that award, it says a lot just to be a part of that group,” said Smith. “I think I’ve worked pretty hard this year, and it’s nice to see it pay off a little bit.
“You set different goals for yourself, and as you hit one you move on to the next one. Months ago sitting here in training camp [I was] just trying to make the team, that was my first goal. There’s been a few that I have achieved this year, and there’s still a lot more that I’m striving for.”
Names like Carl Soderberg and Chad Johnson were also in the running along with Smith in the days leading up to the award, so the 23-year-old right winger turned out to be an excellent choice for the piece of B’s hardware.
In addition to the Seventh Player Award trophy, Smith will receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of his choice. Recent past recipients include: Dougie Hamilton (2013), Tyler Seguin (2012), Brad Marchand (2011), Tuukka Rask (2010), David Krejci (2009) and Milan Lucic (2008).