Mike Smith would like some recognition as one of the NHL‘s best goalkeepers.
Good luck, Mike.
It’s not that Smith isn’t one of the better goalies in the league. He’s playing for the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona, not exactly a hotbed for hockey. He deserves plenty of credit. Smith will be good enough to make the Coyotes a Stanley Cup playoff contender, but there is legitimate doubt whether he could take the Coyotes on his back to a Cup title.
That said, Smith is giving signs that he’s willing to take a heavy load for the team and make the Coyotes competitive in every game. He allowed five goals in one game, but the other three have been three or less goals.
The season is only four games old, but Smith is showing signs of being a winner. Phoenix would like to see Smith copy his 2011-12 season when he was 38-18 with eight shutouts, a .930 saves percentage and 2.1 goals against average. It wasn’t that 2012-13 was a bad season for Smith. It’s hard to gauge anyone in a lockout-shortened season. Smith’s record was 15-12 in 34 games with a .910 saves percentage and 2.58 GAA.
Smith and his Coyotes have things to worry about together before making the playoffs, which is obviously a reachable goal. They need to make sure the offense can complement the defense and Smith’s talents and keep the Coyotes in a hunt all season long for the playoffs. He proved in 2011-12 he can hold his own in the NHL postseason.
For now, Smith wants to avoid those five-goal games and better. If he gets better, so will the Coyotes.