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Best of the West #26: Craig Smith, Wisconsin

Craig Smith, Forward, 6-0 195 lbs., Waterloo(USHL)


Role he'll likely play: With 16 forwards on the roster, Smith will have to really fight to find ice time on a deep Wisconsin team, but there's a number of older forwards on the team he should be able to beat out to get pretty consistent ice time.

Why he is ranked here: After two fairly average seasons in the USHL, Smith had a breakout year last season, scoring 76 points and being among the league leaders in +/-. His effort got him drafted in the NHL Draft in his final year of draft eligibility. If scoring like that becomes a habit and not a fluke, Smith could be an excellent college player.

Why he'll be great: Smith has always been regarded as a player with a lot of potential. Last year, that potential started to come together. If he continues building on that, he could become one of Wisconsin's top forwards.

Why he might not: Wisconsin has a glut of forwards and it could be hard for Smith to really show his abilities in a more limited role, at least early on in his career.

Contrived Rivals-style star ranking: Three and a half stars