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Why Craig Smith is a Player to Keep Your Eye On

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  • Why Craig Smith is a Player to Keep Your Eye On

    The biggest factor when it comes to being a successful investor in sports cards is to be able to spot talent and potential before the rest of the world does. Maybe it's finding youngsters that, with the development of their game, will become stars, or perhaps it's searching for a player that is poised for a breakout season. Either way, it takes a lot of research and watching hockey, and that is why I love investing in cards.

    I happen to be a Nashville Predators fan. Mostly because I am a Tennessean, soon to be a Nashvillian (college night on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Whoo!), and because I like the way their organization is run. So obviously, I watch just about every Preds game when I get the opportunity, and it is an organization that is loaded with young talent and potential, but the player that I want to talk about today is Craig Smith.

    Craig Smith got off to a great start to his rookie campaign in the 2011-12 season, scoring a goal in each of his first two games. The twenty two year old center continued to play well, picking up 30 points in the first four months of the season.

    Then February rolled around and Nashville swung a couple of deals before the trade deadline. This was bad news for Smith, as players like Paul Gaustad and Andrei Kostitsyn stole ice time away from him, and then Alexander Radulov returned in March to only worsen Smith's situation. Smith only notched 6 points in the months of February, March, and April, and by the time the Playoffs began Smith found himself a healthy scratch.

    But the offseason brings hope for Smith. Many people are doubtful that Nashville will be able to hold onto last season's late acquisitions due to contract issues. This means that next season Smith should be seeing the ice just as much as he was at the beginning of his rookie season, if not more, and I expect him to only improve upon his impressive stint from early last season.

    Another factor in this ordeal is the uncertainty of whether Shea Weber and Ryan Suter will return for next season. Weber and Suter are easily the biggest "stars" for the Preds (aside from Pekka Rinne), and if they are gone, others are going to have to step into the spotlight. Maybe Smith will be the guy that does. I'm expecting at least one of the two, Weber or Suter, to resign this offseason, but even then, Smith will be presented with a great opportunity to make a name for himself in the NHL.

    At the time of this post, one of Smith's more popular rookie cards (not pictured above), his Upper Deck SPx auto jersey numbered to 799 last sold on eBay for only $5.99.

    The Stick Market Report