Smoker is the Sanji of the Marines, both get abused and downplayed, forced to job to hype their opponents up now. Prepare for the worst just to be safe, as Oda most likely will sacrifice Smoker to Lucci.
Unless the reason he's kept Smoker offscreen and his status unknown is for a huge powerup potentially somehow, maybe a even a promotion or joining Sword but honestly, I wouldn't get you hopes up given how Oda has been treating Smoker for a very
long time now.
Punk Hazard was the definining moment for him and Sanji funnily enough, one that would "foreshadow" their fates in the series later on. Its funny how Smoker even fought Sanji briefly in Stampede to think of it now lol.
Honestly, Smoker should just be part of Sword now too, he would fit there too since how Oda is handling Koby and Drake too lmao, sigh...
It is really weird that Oda hiding Smoker this whole time but I'm not getting my hopes up either, even if he does get a powerup from Vegapunk or w/e, Oda will wank Lucci over him if they fight too. Use him to hype up Luccis new potential powerup/strength gain or w/e.