Around the league, there are a handful of teams that could use some goaltending help as they try to get back to the playoffs. Philadelphia, Calgary, New York (Islanders) and perhaps even St. Louis could use a veteran netminder to help that last push. While 34-year old Mike Smith might be appealing to some of them, it doesn’t sound like he’s headed anywhere.
In her latest column, AZCentral’s Sarah McLellan talks to both Smith and Coyotes’ GM John Chayka about the possibility of the veteran goalie being dealt. After being named an all-star this year, Smith had doubts he even really deserved it. His team is losing, and most goaltenders will tell you the win-loss record is the most important thing to them.
Despite losing more games than not, Smith is having an excellent season. A .917 save percentage behind a very weak defense is Smith’s best number since 2011-12, and a mark most of the above teams can only dream of. His deal does include a no-trade clause though, and carries two more years at $5.67MM – a tough pill to swallow.
McLellan reports that the Coyotes haven’t approached Smith to waive his clause, and Chayka sure doesn’t sound like he wants to move the netminder.
We’re trying to grow, and he’s a key cog of that growth for us. Wayne Gretzky was traded. At the same time, [Smith’s] an important piece for our organization. There’s no discussion on him.
That sounds about as definitive as possible, though obviously anything can happen in the next month. The Coyotes find themselves at the bottom of the standings once again as they continue to rebuild, and though Smith could likely fetch at least something in return the added veteran stability is worth something to their development. The fact that Louis Domingue hasn’t turned in the season the team had hoped after his solid stretch last year might also figure into that decision.