Smaby broke onto the hockey scene with two years of hockey at prep school powerhouse Shattuck St. Mary's as a teammate of Penguins phenom Sidney Crosby and Buffalo Sabres first round pick Drew Stafford. Smaby also played basketball with Shattuck and prior to his years there was a two sport star at Minneapolis Southwest High School. In 61 games with Shattuck he had 21 points despite playing much of his final season there in a cast with a broken wrist. Long committed to North Dakota University, Smaby opted into the 2003 Entry Draft and was taken by the Lightning early in the second round. Smaby was +20 as a freshman at North Dakota in 39 games with 1 goal and 7 points. In 44 games as a sophomore Smaby's offensive output dropped to 3 points but he came on late in the season as the Fighting Sioux advanced to the NCAA championship game before losing to Denver. Smaby returned to North Dakota this year to play his junior season and lead a young blueline as the only regular upperclassman defenseman on the team. He was named team captain for the 2005-2006 season and led the Fighting Sioux to victory in the WCHA tournament, earning All Tournament Team honors, before helping lead North Dakota to the national semifinal game of the NCAA tournament. He was also named to the WCHA's All-Academic Team and Third Team All WCHA.
Smaby began his rookie year of professional hockey with Springfield of the AHL where he spent most of the season on the team's second pairing. In 66 games with the Falcons, Smaby scored 2 goals and 16 points with 43 penalty minutes and a -24 rating. Smaby was recalled to Tampa late in the season but did not suit up in any regular season games for the Lightning. Smaby made the Lightning out of camp in 2007-2008 appearing in his first NHL game on October 4, 2007 against the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, Smaby was unable to hold onto the Lightning's sixth defenseman job and he was sent to Norfolk of the AHL after seeing just four games of action. With the Admirals, Smaby posted 1 goal and 6 points in 58 games with a -1 rating and 66 penalty minutes before being recalled to the Lightning late in the season. In the NHL, Smaby played a total of 14 games with a -6 rating and 12 penalty minutes.