June 21, 2024
Will Smith, considered the Sharks’ top prospect, signed a three-year contract with San Jose on Tuesday

SAN JOSE – When the newest San Jose Sharks player, Will Smith, said he wanted to wear No. 2 as a member of the organization, it didn’t take long for team officials to act – and try and cash in.

Within a few hours of Smith signing his entry-level contract and mentioning that No. 2 was his preferred number, the Sharks said on social media that the digit was his, with a link to purchase home and away versions of the jersey for $175.00 (USD) before tax.

The 19-year-old Smith, considered the Sharks’ top prospect, signed a three-year contract with San Jose on Tuesday, eschewing the remainder of his college eligibility to start his professional career. As Boston College’s No. 1 center, Smith finished his freshman season as the NCAA Division I leader with 71 points in 41 games.

Smith wore No. 6 in his one season with the Eagles, as No. 2 already belonged to senior defenseman Eamon Powell.

Smith also had No. 6 as a member of Team USA’s gold-medal-winning entry at the IIHF World Junior Championships this past winter in Sweden and at the recently competed world championships in the Czech Republic. The U.S. lost in the quarterfinals to the hosts, who would go on to win gold.

Smith did wear No. 2 for the U.S. National Development Team in 2022-2023, at St. Sebastian’s school in Needham, Mass., and as a young teenager with the Boston Jr. Eagles.

Why does Smith like No. 2, usually worn by a defenseman?

He said he grew up a fan of Boston College, where Brian Leetch starred for one season in 1986-87 with 47 points in 37 games. Leetch finished his hall-of-fame career with the Boston Bruins in 2005-2006. Smith was born on March 17, 2005.

“Even though (Leetch) was a defenseman, I still kind of liked the number, and I’ve worn it my whole life, besides at BC because it was taken,” Smith said. “It’s a number that just kind of stuck with me, and it’s also a little bit different.”

Seven players, all defenseman, have worn No. 2 with the Sharks, most notably Mike Rathje, who wore it from 2002 to 2004, the last two years of his 11-year San Jose career.

Other Sharks to wear No. 2 were Rob Zettler (1992-1994), Jim Kyte (1995-96), Bill Houlder (1998-1999), Bobby Dollas (2001), Jim Vandermeer (2012), and Greg Pateryn (2021).

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Pateryn only played two games with the Sharks after he and a 2021 fifth-round draft pick (Max McCue) were acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in April 2021 for goalie Devan Dubnyk. Pateryn wore No. 2 in an April 24 game against the Minnesota Wild, then switched to No. 5 for the next game, against Anaheim on April 26.

Smith hopes to make the Sharks’ roster out of training camp this fall, but even if he is assigned to the Barracuda, he’ll still have No. 2, as the organization has players wear the same number at the AHL and NHL levels.