Yeah the difference is that most rookies do at least one thing pretty well. Tatar scores, Lashoff kills penalties, and Dekeyser is good defensively. Smith's an offensive d-man who doesn't score...or play defense. People don't expect Tatar to be great defensively, people DO expect Smith to be able to pass and play offense and he's not good at that.
As noted above, he starts in the offensive zone more than any of our other defenseman and still only barely scores more than Quincey who starts in the d-zone more than any of our defensemen.
Keep making excuses for Brendan, you're only proving my point. The stats don't lie. He's not very good. And the more you try to make it seem so, the more you show that you're going to defend him no matter what the truth is.
Here's a thought, why don't you tell me all the ways that Smith is better than Quincey, or Dekeyser, or Lashoff...and I'll post links to tell you how wrong you are. Or I could just do it for you...
Smith's gritty: Lashoff and Quincey have more hits and blocked shots.
Smith's Offensive: Quincey has more goals, and Dekeyser has more points.
Smith's safer: Nope. leads the defense in turnovers.
Smith's versatile: Nope, doesn't play any special teams.
Smith only does one thing better than the rest of our defense...turn the puck over. Everybody else has at least one thing over him. But keep telling me how good he is and how bad they suck.
Dekeyser and Lashoff are both rookies, why don't they suck as bad as Smith defensively if it's merely a product of being young? Lashoff's better defensively, and Dekeyser is better offensively AND defensively (while playing fewer games). Being young's not an excuse. Smith is young AND bad (right now).
You can stick to your stats - I'll watch the on-ice product. Smith has outstanding passing and you say he doesn't - the guy goes tape to tape on the majority of them - Quincey's passing is below average at best. Smith is a great skater and last night Mickey was saying how he can keep up with Crosby and specifically showed the play where Smith smothered Crosby entering the zone and came out in control with the puck. Smith shows spark and instinct in jumping into the play offensively that only Kronner shows on this team (this is a thing you see on the ice rather than in the stats sheet). Another thing Smith does better than others is being physical and initiating contact - he is one the best of our D at reversing a hit and staying steady along the boards under contact (I remember Smith reversing a hit on Boby Ryan in the playoffs among others). I'm not saying Smith is amazing (he could be some day) - but your attitude towards s***ting on him completely is unfounded - especially now when he is playing much better. Smith does do many things well and you have to give him credit for them even if it isn't in the goals column or his +/-.
Oh and if you are throwing around stats and my previous paragraph meant nothing to you - Smith 15pts -3, Quincey 12 pts -3 so NO quincey is not better offensively by your statistical standards - goal scoring isn't the only factor. The -3 statistic (even though I don't really care for stats but you do) is the same as Quincey's showing they are equal in terms of being on the ice for bad and good events. Smith outscores Quincey with less ice time this season. The lame thing about stats is you can pick and choose which ones help your personal vendetta and ignore the rest - that is why I generally dislike them. Players give you a "feel" when you watch them every night and Smith has been sending good vibes lately (I know its not objective but if you watch enough games you can see players trend up and down). I trust that much more than the stats sheet and I think most people have the same feeling that Smith has done well lately. I come to threads like this right after the game - when the feeling is still fresh - and post about how I feel a player did - many others do too. Sure - if I want to know how a random player has been doing on another team that I don't watch, then yes, I have a quick look at the stats - but it doesn't really compare to watching that player. Hell - you'd think Helm is useless by looking at his stats and that we should have Hudler instead.
And to address your point about being good at one thing - I'd rather have the majority of my players be average at everything than outstanding in one category while being terrible in another. Lashoff seems better on D because he never commits to making anything happen in the offensive zone so he is always positioned to succeed defensively - its no that hard to figure that out. DD is a more polished player than smith right now - there is no way around that. Smith is not bad - he is developing and learning to use his tools.
If they are going to give him 4th line minutes they are not getting the best of Kuzia. He is the best when he is a real part of the team. Knowing Oates, Kuznetsov will be available for the right price soon. I would trade Mantha+ for him.
PS I followed his career closely. When something goes wrong, when game is on the line, when you are loosing the most important game of the season you put Kuznetsov on the ice. He usually find a way to score.
I'm sure the long term plan isn't to have him on the 4th line. They are just keeping the pressure off him and also avoiding relying too heavily on a rookie without disrupting team dynamics in the middle of a playoff push. He will work up the lineup soon.
There was some discussion in the GDT today about his rebound control and puck handling skills having an affect on the outcome of games. There HAS to be a reason why the team scores about 1 goal per game more in front of monster than howard. Often times I see a soft dump in that howie steers to the corner where the dman has to dig it out while the forecheck comes hard on them. Monster seems more capable of controlling that puck and settling it down for the dman to break out of the zone and defeat the forecheck. Thats just what I see. We seem to get trapped in our zone less. Howard also tends (in my opinion) to leave rebounds out on top of his crease that lead to mad scrambles in front of the net (especially in the last minutes of periods) whereas Monster has kicked more rebounds out wide or absorbed them.
Worst of all I have seen howard give up on plays in 2 recent games where it lead directly to a goal (once in NJ). If anything, when down on your luck you should put in a full effort to give yourself a shot at success.