Former Spokane Chief captain Ty Smith was selected for the NHL All-Rookie team last Tuesday.
With the New Jersey Devils, he led all rookie defensemen in points and assists, playing in all but one game this season.
"At the start of the year, that's what you strive to accomplish and I was pretty fortunate that I got a lot of opportunities this year in New Jersey," he told KREM 2.
Smith didn't make the Devils roster after training camp the two years prior to his season. He finally made it this year, and he shined.
"It was a life long goal to make the NHL and play a full season," he said. "As a rookie, it's something that feels good obviously. Being 20 years old I thought it was time to make that step. I just tried to adapt and learn as much as I could in my first year so I thought it went pretty well."
He started out the year with a point in each of his first five starts, becoming the sixth blueliner in NHL history to begin his career doing that. He finished seventh among all rookies for the Calder Trophy, the NHL's rookie of the year award.
The individual accomplishments piled up, but Smith wants to accomplish more.
He wants to help turn the Devils from an NHL bottom dweller to a winning squad.
"It's definitely more of a goal of mine to win. I'm a pretty competitive guy," Smith said. "I want to continue to take a bigger step myself, being a bigger part of that and kind of picking up where I left off."