NHL Expansion: Mike Smith isnt going anywhere


Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last month, you’ve probably seen the rumors surrounding the possibility of the NHL expanding to 32 teams. If this happens, not only will the NHL be doing a Scrooge McDuck dive into money bags- they will most likely hold an expansion draft.

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  • The last expansion draft was held in 2000, when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets entered the league. With an expansion draft comes the ability to protect players from being selected. The rules  for the last expansion draft went as follows:

    Depending on the number of goalies a team wanted to protect, they could protect a different amount of skaters. If a team protected one goalie they could then protect five defensemen and nine forwards; with two goalies, they could protect three defensemen and seven forwards.

    With the rules out of the way, who will the Coyotes protect if expansion does happen (it’s just a matter of time IMO)?

    Previously, we have said that Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be one of the top choices to protect. In conjunction, I’m assuming the Coyotes would go the route of protecting one Goaltender- and that Goaltender is Mike Smith.

    Dec 23, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk (3) takes a shot that ends up in the pants of Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) during the overtime period at First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Coyotes 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

    Smith is on the second year of a six-year, $34 Million deal, and is clearly one of the foundations of the Coyotes’ success moving forward. There’s seemingly only downside to the long-term contract that Smith signed last season… the final season of it will take place when Smith is 37, and most likely on the downside of his career.

    If that’s the case, then why protect him? A couple of reasons.  Mark Visentin, whom we saw a little bit last season, is still a few years away. In addition, when going off the current roster, its safe to assume that Devan Dubnyk isn’t the future of this team- even as a backup.

    “Smith is on the second year of a six year $34 Million deal and is clearly one of the foundations of the Coyotes success moving forward”

    Despite his age and Mark Visentin waiting in the wings, though, there is still one major reason why i’m making sure Mike Smith stays in the valley of the sun.


    Look no further than Wednesday’s Arena announcement press conference. Mike Smith was there as one of the faces of the team, alongside Captain Shane Doan. There are very few times I can remember when after a tough game, I didn’t see Smith in front of the media cameras on the Coyotes post game show.

    The Coyotes missed that leadership down the stretch last season, after Smith missed an extended period of time with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Thomas Greiss filled in nicely; he allowed two goals or less in eight of his last ten games- but despite that, the Coyotes lost seven of their last eight games and missed the playoffs. Would Smitty had made a difference? Unless somebody has access to a Tardis and we can travel back in space and time and change the past than we can’t quite grasp how much the team missed Mike Smith. We do know Smitty couldn’t really help an offense that went silent during that same stretch. The Coyotes scored just 17 goals in their last ten games- he could have helped in net, though, and that’s where it counts.

    On top of his leadership, he is also an important part of the Coyotes offense- he scored a couple memorable goals last season. One was awesome and the other was just plain hilarious.

    The bottom line is that I don’t want Mike Smith going anywhere until Mark Visentin is ready to take over the job. At the very least, Visentin will become a better goaltender with the help of Smith and goalie coach Sean Burke.