Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said the six-foot-two, 185-pound Smith is a good skater who handles the puck well and has plenty of upside.
"He joins the rush well," Nill said. "He has the skills to be a good NHL defenceman."
Nill said the Wings have watched Smith play for St. Michael's of the Ontario Provincial Tier II league the past two years. He said Smith will play at the University of Wisconsin, then likely play at least one year in the minors.
Nill said Smith was the last of four players on Detroit's shopping list. He said if Smith had been taken, the Wings likely would have made a trade.