Derek Smith Taking His Shot

Among the players auditioning for a spot on the Senators next year is 26-year-old defenceman Derek Smith. He signed with the Senators as a free agent on April 12, 2007, but has so far played only six NHL games, two last year, four this year.

He may not stay with the team for the rest of the season. There may be another player in Binghamton who deserves a chance. But so far, said coach Cory Clouston, Smith hasn’t done anything to earn a demotion.

“He’s come a long way in the last four years, and I think last year’s experience has helped him out as well,” said Clouston.

“I think (against New Jersey on Tuesday) he was a little hesitant. New Jersey is a team that for defencemen is tough to play against sometimes, because you get the puck and you look up and it’s like you don’t have any options.

“So then you try to force something that’s not there.

“Derek’s at his best when he’s quick with his puck movement and his decision making. I talked to him (Wednesday) and for the most part it’s just, keep it simple.

“When he tries to overthink things is when he gets into a little bit of trouble.”

Smith knows he has a big chance right now but he’s trying to play it as cool as he can.

“The first couple of games there was nerves, but after being here a week or so, practising with the guys, you feel more comfortable,” he said.

“You’ve just got to try to be better every night, and hopefully you can use your audition and do a really good job.”

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