DETROIT -- The Red Wings have high, but realistic, expectations of Brendan Smith for the coming season.
He's partaking in the team's annual development camp in Traverse City, Mich., this week, despite having the distinction of being NHL-ready. The Wings asked him to join partly for his own benefit, partly to set an example for the younger players.
Smith, 23, has been working out in the Toronto area with Peter Renzetti, the Wings' strength and conditioning coach, with a focus on being sleeker.
"I know a lot of guys that kind of bulk up with weight and then they lose speed, and that would hurt my game, especially with how I skate," Smith said. "That's probably one of my better attributes, so the biggest thing is to get stronger and not lose any speed."
The Wings have been bringing Smith along since drafting him 27th overall five years ago. He spent three years at the University of Wisconsin, then turned pro last season and played in Grand Rapids, where he stood out with his skill level. The Wings relied on him for 14 games, most of them coming after Nicklas Lidstrom was injured in late February. Smith had seven points, six of them assists, and was plus-three.
The Wings' defense has lost Lidstrom and Brad Stuart since the season ended, and Smith could contend for a spot in the top four.
"Brendan is an elite player, and we know he can play in the league," assistant general manager Jim Nill said. "There's going to be some growing pains, but that's part of the system we're in."
Smith has a lot of assets: He's 6-feet-1, a smooth skater, smart, and likes to join the rush. As the Wings saw last exhibition season when he took out a Chicago opponent, Smith plays with an edge. He just needs to fine-tune that edge so the hits don't lead to a suspension.
Between knowing he's being counted on for next season and getting a taste of the NHL last season, Smith's confidence is high.
"I think the biggest thing is, they threw me in the lineup when some of our big D went down and it was at the end of the year, where everybody has played 60-some games," Smith said. "And I thought I did well.
"There's obviously a huge area of improvement that I have to keep on making, and that's what I'll do -- decisions in the defensive zone with the puck, sometimes instead of looking for that home-run pass, it's see that you've got to go boards-out or glass-out. But they've told me they love the way I play with my offensive abilities."
Canucks' Luongo: 'It's really time to move on'
VANCOUVER -- Star goalie Roberto Luongo said Friday night in a radio interview that he expects to leave the Vancouver Canucks, and could even end up with the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Luongo was originally scheduled to be on Vancouver's 99.3 the Fox to talk about the World Series of Poker. However, the discussion shifted to hockey and where he might play next season following the Canucks' decision to sign backup goalie Cory Schneider to a three-year, $12 million deal.
"I think it's really time to move on," Luongo said. "I don't think either one of us ... either I demanded a trade or [Canucks general manager Mike Gillis] suggested a trade. It was a mutual understanding that it was time for Cory to take over."
He was asked about the possibility of going to Chicago.
"That's a good question," Luongo said. "I think there's a lot of cities that are great to play in, and Chicago's definitely one of them. But you have to realize that it works both ways."
The Canucks acquired Luongo in a trade with the Florida Panthers in 2006. He has 339 career wins in the NHL with 60 shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average, and a .919 saves percentage.
Since arriving in British Columbia, Luongo has led Vancouver to the playoffs five times. The Canucks have also had the league's best regular-season record the last two years.
He has 32 wins in 61 playoff appearances with a 2.53 GAA and a .916 saves percentage.
"I would never say never. You never know," the 33-year-old Luongo said when asked if he'd remain in Vancouver. "But I think we all know what's going on. We've all seen what's developed. At the end of the day, I think it's time to move on. And I'm OK with that.
"I had a great six years in Vancouver."