ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, announced rookie defenseman Mitchell Smith has signed a contract for the 2023-24 season.
Smith turns pro after playing three seasons for the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League. Smith led the Spirit in scoring among defenseman with 52 points (14g-38a) in 66 games during the 2022-23 campaign. The 20-year-old also made his mark on the OHL playoffs, scoring 10 points (4g-6a) in 11 games, including an overtime game-winning goal in the opening round.
Over his 190 game OHL career, Smith tallied 118 points (37g-81a) ranking him third all-time in Spirit scoring among defensemen. Smith's early success in the OHL landed him on the Second All-Rookie Team following the 2019-20 season. He was named an alternate captain ahead of the 2021-22 season and was named captain of the Spirit midway through the 2022-23 season.
Smith has participated in two NHL development camps in his career, in 2021 with the Colorado Avalanche and 2022 with the San Jose Sharks, competing in the Rookie FaceOff Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.