Arizona Coyotes netminder Mike Smith has been named to the NHL’s Pacific Division All-Star team.
Mike Smith will represent the Arizona Coyotes at the NHL All-Star game.
Raise your hand if you saw that coming prior to the start of the season.
That’s right, put your hand back down.
Even if you were banking on a bounce back season from Smith as the Coyotes were, you’d have been hard pressed to convince anyone that he’d be selected over the likes of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Max Domi.
Here we are, though, four months into a season in which Smith has been the clear MVP of the Arizona Coyotes.
Through 24 appearances, Smith has compiled a 7-11-5 record to go along with a .918 save percentage.
If the season were to end today, that would be Smitty’s highest total since his banner year in 2011-12 where he posted a .930 save percentage.
Smith’s .926 save percentage since March 12, 2016 is the sixth best among all NHL goalies that have skated in at least 20 games.
Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy wrote that, “Mike Smith is obviously the surprise here, with a .918 save percentage in 24 games. Which isn’t bad by Mike Smith standards, but is lower than that of Cam Talbot, who has played 37 games and is the only reason not named Connor that the Edmonton Oilers are in a playoff spot.”
He neglected to mention how poorly the rest of the team has played around Smith, preferring to rely on the same analysis of Smith that has dogged him in previous seasons. .918 is truly not an awe-inspiring number, but for a decent part of the season Smith’s save percentage has been even higher. It’s unfortunately taken a bit of a hit in the Coyotes’ recent nine game losing streak mostly due to being overworked.
It’s Mike Smith’s first ever appearance at an NHL All-Star game which makes him the 43rd All-Star in franchise history.
Arizona’s goaltender has been the bedrock that the majority of the points the team has earned this season has been built upon. Despite backstopping the team that allows the most shots in the league per game, Smith has managed to keep the Coyotes within striking distance in many contests with steady and sometimes sensational play.
He’s also let out a little frustration, from time to time.
Now, however, maybe Smitty can just ask a friend if he wants to go to Los Angeles for the All-Star festivities.
Mike Smith’s selection is a welcome one for the organization for a variety of reasons.
His play, surely, but also because the team was rudely muscled out of an All-Star selection last season due to the fan vote for John Scott to become captain of the Pacific Division.
Hopefully the folks in LA treat him better at the All-Star festivities than they do for a typical away game.