It was always about taking a chill pill for Smith. When he slows the game down, skates with the puck instead of making ill advised passes, he's golden. He still makes mistakes, but this is his first 82 game season. He's shown alot of growth, I think going forward he should be paired with Kronwall full time. Ericsson can do just fine with DeKeyser. The 3rd pair needs to be revamped in the offseason.
I think next year the third pair will be some combination of Kindl Sproul Oulette Marchenko Almqvuist and a free agent defenseman. There is no chance that they will not try and sign a veteran to come in and compete. Obviously I have no say in the matter but I would like it if Smith and Kronwall stayed together and if not Kronwall then Dekeyser and Smith. Personally I would look for the Wings to find that elusive right handed Dman that they lost when Rafalski retired.
To me Smith has been our best defenseman 5 on 5. I think the next step for him is next year. Maybe finally get some time on the Powerplay. He has already proven he can handle 20 minutes per game. I would like to see him play 22-25 minutes next year and see what he can do.