After dealing with injuries and a concussion throughout the early stages of his professional career, Ben Smith finally got the chance to show what he can bring to the table throughout the duration of an entire season.
The Chicago Blackhawks liked what they saw throughout the 2013-14 campaign and signed Smith to a two-year contract extension on Friday; a deal that — per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun — has a $1.5 million cap hit per season.
"After the season ended there were initial discussions, it seemed like it was going to happen. But you never really know what can develop over a few weeks over the summer," Smith told Comcast SportsNet. "It's definitely nice that it's done and the negotiations were pretty swift and they were done pretty quickly. So it's nice to be able to move on and focus on next season."
Smith provided a versatile game for the Blackhawks, often moving between all four lines and from wing to center throughout different points in the year.
Now as he looks ahead to the next two seasons, Smith is focused on the little details of his game.
"You always want to be better. You always want to contribute more to the team, and just find little ways to make yourself better," he said. "I'm going to try to do that and work on all aspects of getting my body in shape and over the summer getting back on the ice and just working on skills. Trying to bring that much more.
"I'll always have that compete level, that hard work that got me to this point, but there's always room for improvement and I'm excited to see how next year can go."