If Ownership Settled, Is Mike Smith A Lock To Return To Phoenix Coyotes?

By Randy Holt
Mike Smith
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Within the next few days, it looks like we’ll finally have a resolution of some sort as to this Phoenix Coyotes ownership mess. There’s really no indication as to which way it will go, as the situation fluctuates on a daily basis. But if it ends in the way that fans in the desert are hoping, it could bring about even more good news.

We haven’t heard much about the plans of impending free agent goaltender Mike Smith to this point. The man who resurrected his career with the Coyotes is set to hit the open market this summer, unless the Coyotes were able to sign him before July 5th, which the ownership situation has prevented.

But if things go according to plan for the Coyotes in the coming days/weeks, it sure looks like Smith could be sticking around. For one, there aren’t a ton of suitors out there that are willing to throw down huge money for him, when there are others that could be had for cheaper or out on the trade market.

The main reason that he could stick around, though, is that the current situation that he’s in won’t get any better than this. Playing in the system of Dave Tippett, who was just signed to an extension, and with the guidance of Sean Burke, Smith has gone from career backup to star goaltender. Why throw that away for a few extra bucks?

Smith regressed a bit in 2013, but still had a fine year for a Coyotes team that struggled to generate offense regularly, which was eventually what cost them. He’s already had meetings with both Tippett and Burke. With the relationship he has with the two, it’s impossible to see him leaving at this point.

That’s assuming, of course, that things are settled on the ownership front. At this point, that’s not the safest of assumptions. But as Phoenix fans hope for the best, new ownership could very well lead to Mike Smith becoming a lock to return. If not, perhaps he’ll join them in Seattle, or maybe he’ll head elsewhere this summer.

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