I know it's tough to remind yourself of such while still recovering from the cold hard slap of relatively common sense, but a dream is all it ever was. Granted, it was a dream that felt like it was trending mighty close to becoming a reality with each passing cut, but a dream nonetheless. Whether it would have been the right thing for the development of a promising young defenseman or not, I don't think there's one single Devils' fan that didn't let themselves, at least for a second, visualize how the perfect prospect might fit into a lineup that's obviously desperate for his skill-set. As someone that told anyone who would listen that Ty Smith stood no chance of staying in New Jersey when he was initially selected far too late in the first round, even I can admit that each tape-to-tape pass and time-buying pivot made the possibility of it start to feel a little bit more real than anticipated...
If it's any consolation, those moments of weakness would have come with increasing regularity if that nine game audition came any closer to fruition, so it's probably for the best that Ty Smith was sent back to Spokane before he tickled the collective taint of the Devils' fanbase by being poised beyond his years on the puck. The truth is, not many teenagers are Nico Hischier and an 18 year old defenseman making the Devils' out of his first training camp would have been much more of an indictment of their defense than anything else. Of course, I would have been too excited to question it if it actually happened, but - now that it hasn't - I can attempt to avoid dwelling on my disappointment by saying that you should never let your team's needs dictate a prospect's readiness. Not sure I actually believe that as we speak, but the main goal is to not fuck up someone who is imperative to the future of your franchise. Ty Smith showed that he's exactly that by making it to the last cut, so I bid the smooth skating prince adieu with the understanding that I (and likely the Devils) won't be so hesitant in crowning his ass next time he's in New Jersey.