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REPORT: Will Smith Says He Still Hasn’t Decided If He’s Signing With Sharks Next Year

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

Will he or won’t he?

According to Will Smith, he hasn’t decided if he’s signing with the San Jose Sharks or going back to Boston College yet.

“Still up in the air,” Smith told Aaron Vickers of NHL.com in Czechia.

Smith is representing Team USA at the World Championships, pointless in three games, while averaging just 9:02 a game.

It’s worth noting that he’s a 19-year-old on a team full of established NHL stars and veterans.

The fate next year of the top San Jose Sharks prospect, the fourth pick of the 2023 Draft, has been subject of much scrutiny since his marvelous freshman campaign at BC, with reports pointing in either direction.

SJHN Daily: Marleau Has Advice for No. 1 Pick, Could Celebrini & Smith Stay in School?

SJHN Daily: Warriors Celebrate Sharks Winning No. 1 Pick, Cohen Thinks Celebrini & Smith Will Sign

For what it’s worth, San Jose Hockey Now believes that the decision is indeed, as Smith put it, “up in the air”, as noted here:

Our Too Early Sharks’ Off-Season Plan

Smith led the NCAA with 71 points, the most points by a freshman since Jack Eichel’s 71 in 2014-15 for Boston University.

Perhaps one thing that could help make Smith’s decision?

The San Jose Sharks are expected to select Boston University standout Macklin Celebrini first-overall in the 2024 Draft. And like Smith, while Celebrini can also stay in school, it’s believed by many that both are NHL-ready.

So Smith should have a young running mate if he chooses to come out.

The World Championships end of May 26. Perhaps we’ll get a decision from Smith shortly thereafter?

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Zeke

worth looking at the Team USA roster. Some fine players on it. By my quick estimate, the cap for that roster is around $110million (next season numbers where available). though a few, like Petry and Hayes are on the downside of their deals. Smith is playing with NHL level talent, so it shouldn’t surprise if he’s not getting prime time work level.

https://teamusa.usahockey.com/2024mwcroster

That said, I think this tourney is a gauge for him. If he’s really not ready, he’ll know and Grier will know. If he is ready, seems like it won’t be by much.

Stephanie

I don’t know why, but of all the Sharks prospects he’s the one I’m worried might pull a Cutter Gauthier. I want to see him signed and pull some AHL duty. It’s been good for all the other prospects, I wonder if a guy as good as Will Smith sees a team that develops slowly and in the AHL and not wanting that approach.

Joseph

Mike Grier has said publicly that he believes Smith is ready for the NHL. Why would Smith worry that the organization is planning to slow play him in the AHL? The decision is his. If he wants to play NHL hockey next year, he will. This is just baseless hand wringing.

matthias893

It wouldn’t shock me if he was waiting first for the world championships to be over, and next for the Sharks to hire a coach.

Even if he has made his decision already he’d still probably be non-committal until after he’s done playing hockey for the year. Most players try to avoid contract distractions while they’re still playing.

Joseph

All good points. World championships, coaching hire, Celebrini’s decision – there are a lot of dominoes to fall before we start drawing any conclusions about which way he’s leaning.

Bob D

Were any of the other 3 top draft picks “up in the air” about joining their crappy teams? Fantilli still signed even though CBJ hired and fired Babcock within a week. This guy is going to screw us. Sheng needs to ask him one simple question: Are you committed to this organization?

Joseph

It’s not up in the air whether he’s going to sign with the Sharks eventually. It’s up in the air whether he’ll return for college another season. Calm down folks.

SJShorky

Dude, maybe a little less caffeine.

Clark

the other 3 were not in the NCAA. Completely different dynamic.

Joseph

Perhaps a headline like “Smith still undecided whether he will go pro or stay in the NCAA next year” would have helped assuage the chicken little effect below.

SJShorky

Can’t blame him. Gotta get the clicks. Sheng needs to eat just like everyone else.

Alaskan_ice

You didn’t scare me.
I firmly believe that Smith will be a Shark next season.

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