FRISCO — Gemel Smith wants to trim down for his second professional season with the Texas Stars.
While he was officially listed at 195 pounds on the roster, Smith’s playing weight was closer to 200 pounds.
He’d like to shrink that number to 190 before Texas opens the season in the Cedar Park Center on Oct. 10.
“About 10 pounds, even eight,” Smith said at Dallas Stars development camp on Wednesday. “As long as I’m going down, I’ll be happy.”
Smith believes a slightly slimmer build will help his speed and explosiveness on the ice. He’s been working on his leg strength since Texas’ first-round playoff loss to the Rockford IceHogs, trying to re-capture “that explosive speed” he had when he was a point-per-game scorer for the Owen Sound Attack and London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League.
Quick feet could be an asset in the battling for playing time this season.
While he’s a natural center, Texas will have a logjam down the middle of the ice.
Travis Morin, Justin Dowling, Radek Faksa, Devin Shore, and, potentially, Jason Dickinson, will center lines this season. That will force Smith, a right-handed shot, to carve himself a role on one the wings.
And he looked comfortable on the wing during the first two days of development camp, and while it’s not nearly the same competition as the AHL, the 21-year-old looked confident around the net.
He also started taking on more of a leadership role during the camp as an AHL veteran.
“You’re kind of helping the young guys out,” Smith said. “Because they’re nervous, so you help out.”
That’s an intangible that could help in the Texas locker room as well. While Morin and Greg Rallo will undoubtedly be the veteran leaders of the team, Texas will be looking for a handful of young players to embrace a void left by the likes of Derek Meech, Maxime Fortunus, and Kevin Henderson.