On Feb. 8, 2018, Rangers management sent a letter out to fans signaling a rebuild. Then they put Smith on waivers.
Smith was less than eight months into a four-year, $17.4 million contract, with expectations that he would be a top-four defenseman. But his first full season in New York was a disaster. "Things didn't go well with our team off the bat," Smith said. "We didn't play very well, and I had a very short leash.