It is obvious that the Arizona Coyotes are now in full tear down mode. It is also become apparent that 24-year-old Louis Dominque is the goalie of the future (or that’s the plan as of now). That leaves veteran 35-year-old Mike Smith up for grabs. Interest in Smith is evident with three teams in the race (or discussions might be a better term).
The Calgary Flames thought they found their man last year in Brian Elliott. That experiment did not go as planned when Elliott struggled miserably out of the gate. He did pull it together for a late season push, but fell back into his struggles come playoff time. I don’t believe that Smith is Calgary’s top target. That is probably Marc-Andre Fleury, but Smith would be a great bridge goalie as they prepare two strong prospects in Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons.
The Winnipeg Jets are in need of goaltending stability. They have struggled to find consistent play from all three of their goalies last season. Now expiring contracts will help determine their fate. Ondrej Pavelec is a UFA, and will probably not be resigned. Michael Hutchinson has one year left on his contract, and prospect Connor Hellebuyck is a pending RFA. The Jets would solidify their goaltending by having Smith starting with Hellebuyck in training mode. Or the Jets may throw a twist into this and move Hellebuyck to Arizona (making him the goalie of the future in Arizona) and getting a defenseman in return along with Mike Smith. That would leave Smith starting and Hutchinson backing up. Either way the Jets face some goaltending decisions.
The Philadelphia Flyers have Michal Neuvirth under contact until 2019-2020 but they have not shown a lot of confidence that he is their goalie of the future. Stability has also been a factor for the Flyers and with Steve Mason a UFA that won’t return some decisions need to be made. Smith would provide that stability, and also provide training for Neuvirth. The Flyers are probably the least likely of the three to acquire Smith, but he is definitely on their radar.
Coyotes general manager John Chayka is playing off the trade rumors, and stressed that the return for Smith must be substantial. I question how substantial a return for a 35-year-old goalie on a rebuilding team will be, but I guess that’s up to the teams general manager.
Smith also has a modified no-trade clause, but recently submitted a list of eight teams he cannot be dealt too. Makes me think that Arizona is shopping him, otherwise why would you get approval from the player. Stay Tuned, this is going to be an interesting off-season.
- Evander Kane may be on the move this summer – Vancouver and Los Angeles lead the discussions.
- Chris Tanev, defenseman of the Vancouver Canucks is receiving interest from the Dallas Stars.
- Talk is circulating that TJ Oshie may land in Los Angeles
- Also looks as though the Los Angeles Kings are working out a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights to have them select Dustin Brown in the Expansion Draft in return the Kings would also give their 11 pick overall. Interesting, but the Kings need to rid them of that cap space, but that is a high price. Also Vegas will need to pad their cap to reach the cap minimum.