With the drama surrounding the NHL lockout now over, it shouldn’t be too long before we hear about Greg Jamison‘s purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes officially being pushed through. Once those two hurdles are overcome, the Coyotes can begin to focus on their primary objective: a new contract for Mike Smith.
Smith essentially came out of nowhere to have a fantastic season for the Coyotes. It’s tough to say he was a Vezina Trophy snub, given the three finalists, but he had a very fine season and you could have made an argument that he at least deserved a nomination.
For a guy that didn’t have a great track record of success, as a starter or backup, Smith pieced together a brilliant campaign and was a main reason the Coyotes made their deepest playoff run in the history of their franchise. He finished with 38 wins, a .930 save percentage, and eight shutouts.
Of course, a main reason for that is the defense-oriented system of Dave Tippett, which has been proven to be very favorable for goaltenders. Regardless of the reason behind his success, the Coyotes have made no secret of their intention to make Mike Smith a part of their future.
A shrinking salary cap will make things a bit more tricky, but not as difficult as originally thought, since the league did move on its original demand for a $60 million cap. Still, with the Coyotes being the small market team that they are, it will be interesting to see how they plan to approach an extension for their netminder.
The answer could be relatively simple. This isn’t likely a situation where the team is looking to lock their goaltender up to an eight or nine-year deal, like the Philadelphia Flyers did with former Coyote Ilya Bryzgalov. With a year left on his deal, the Coyotes may just look to add two or three years onto that. Which wouldn’t prove extremely pricey.
No matter the intention as far as the years, or even as far as the dollars are concerned, it shouldn’t be long after Jamison sorts the purchase out, which should be soon, that we hear about a new contract for Mike Smith.