Arizona Coyotes’ Biggest Questions Entering 2016-17 Season

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Arizona Coyotes
Nov 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) defends during the first period against the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

How do you see the work load being distributed between Louis Domingue and Mike Smith? Will this be a return to glory for Smith, or can Domingue overtake him in his first full NHL season?

Alex Temes:

In my eyes, the workload will be dictated by how Mike Smith does coming out of the gates.

If Smith can lead the Coyotes to more wins than losses over his first two-dozen games or so without having his save percentage drop below .920, he’ll shoulder around 80-85% of the workload. But if Smith reverts back to his 2013 self, Louis Domingue will push Smith for every single start and the ice time could even come down to a 50/50 split.

As a fan, my patience with Mike Smith has begun to run thin and this season will show whether the coaching staff feels the same way.

Jonathan King:

Mike Smith is the starting goaltender, however unless he stands on his head, Dave Tippett is likely to go with the hot netminder. Look for Domingue to get more starts than the typical backup, and if he’s hot he will stay in there.

Competition is the name of the game for the Coyotes this year, and goaltending competition is part of it. Smith has played his best when he feels Domingue nipping at his heels, and Domingue has played his finest hockey when he has something to prove.

I think Smith will be challenged for the starting job this season, and Louuu could earn some of Smith’s starts if he can show last January was not a fluke.

Jason Harrison:

The fate of the 2016-17 Arizona Coyotes hangs on these two gentlemen.

If the team gets consistent, slightly above league average goaltending from the pair, they have a chance to compete for a wild card this season. A lot of that depends on Smith’s ability to be consistent, which is something that has plagued him the past four seasons. If he can’t, Domingue has shown he can be a viable starter over a short period of time. Perhaps he can take the leap and put together a full season at that level this year, or perhaps what we saw in the month of January last year was the real fluke.

I see Smith getting the benefit of the doubt and the lion’s share of the starts unless he completely breaks down. There’s too much capital invested in him for a quick hook.