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Neil Smith

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A native of Toronto, Neil Smith played NCAA hockey for Western Michigan University, and was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 13th round of the 1974 NHL Draft, becoming the 1st player ever drafted out of Western Michigan. After playing 2 years for various teams in the minors, Smith hung up his skates and took a job with the Islanders as a talent scout. Smith impressed Assistant GM Jim Devellano, who brought Smith with him to Detroit when Devellano was hired as the Red Wings GM. Smith would win 2 Calder Cups in 1986 and 1989 when serving as GM of Detroit’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Red Wings. In 1989, Smith was hired as General Manager of the New York Rangers, and developed their draft picks such as Tony Amonte, Mike Richter and Brian Leetch into stars, while making several blockbuster trades (including Mark Messier). By 1994, the Rangers won the Presidents Trophy as the NHL’s leader in points. In the 1994 playoff, the Rangers would defeat the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. Smith remains the only modern day NHL GM to win a Stanley Cup with the Rangers. In 1996, Smith signed Wayne Gretzky, who’d finish his legendary NHL career with the Rangers in 1999. Smith would leave the Rangers in 2000. Since leaving the Rangers, Smith briefly returned to the Islanders as their GM in 2006 and then served as an Assistant GM with the Dallas Stars. Smith has also been on several TV networks as a hockey analyst.