The numbers game caught up to Alaska Aces rookie winger Jarred Smith today -- the ECHL club released him, and the move appears to be part of some roster shuffling as the deadline approaches (Monday, 11 a.m. ADT) for teams to submit their playoff rosters.
The move indicates the Aces could be adding a player soon, and/or also planning to leave a playoff roster spot for either defenseman William Wrenn or defenseman Corey Syvret, both of whom have been up in the AHL on extended loans from the Aces.
Today's release of Smith at least gives him a small window to be claimed by another team before playoff rosters are due.
Smith went 4-8--12 and +8 in 42 games, and coach Rob Murray several times spoke highly of Smith's determination, grit and low-maintenance attitude.
"It's (tough),'' Murray said. "He's done everything we asked. He's been a great soldier about not playing or sitting out, but still working hard and not bitching about it.''
This is one of the difficult parts of the pro game. A guy does everything asked of him, puts the team first, fits in and is well liked by his teammates -- yet sometimes he's simply a victim of numbers, nothing more.
Best of luck to Smith down the road.
Doyle Woody, email@example.com