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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Smith owns the coveted 6-foot-4 frame teams covet, and his excellent puck-handling skills should be a perfect fit with Calgary's high-end defense corps. The move to the Flames should also prove to be a much better fantasy setup for the veteran. After all, the Coyotes allowed the most high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five in the league last year. Smith has posted a middling .915 save percentage and 2.82 GAA through 87 games over the past two seasons, but league-average goaltending shouldn't be scoffed at in any fantasy circle. Additionally, he's clearly ahead of Eddie Lack in the pecking order, and Smith should receive a hefty workload of approximately 55 starts.
Smith enters the 2016-17 season as the Coyotes' starter by default, but don’t count out the young Louis Domingue, who could push for a larger role over the aging netminder. After missing most of last year’s campaign with a lower-body ailment, the 34-year-old returned with a surprisingly decent performance, notching a 15-13-2 record to go along with a .916 save percentage and 2.63 GAA. While those aren’t top-notch starter numbers, they're huge improvements on the prior season, and Smith comes into this year with an improved blue line. The veteran will naturally lose a few opportunities to Domingue, but if the Coyotes' blue line is up to the task and the young forwards continue developing, Smith could be surprisingly valuable this season.
Smith posted his second consecutive mediocre season in 2014-15, churning out a 3.04 GAA and .904 save percentage, while losing a career-worst and NHL-leading 42 games. The 33-year-old wasn't helped by playing behind a weak defense that caused him to face the fourth-most shots in the league (1,955), but even after adjusting his save percentage for even-strength situations, his .912 mark ranked among the worst in the NHL. The Coyotes are stuck with Smith through the team's rebuilding process, as the veteran goalie's contract -- which pays him $6 million for 2015-16 and lasts through the end of the 2017-18 season -- is almost unmovable. As the Coyotes ice several prospects and other inexperienced players this season, Smith is probably in for another tough year. He'll still likely finish near the top of the league in games played, but might yield a few more starts to backup Anders Lindback than he has in previous campaigns.
It was a tale of two seasons for Smith, who was, quite frankly, pretty ordinary until Feb. 1 . He turned a corner thereafter, putting up a dominant stretch of 17 starts in which he posted a .933 save percentage before his season ended with an MCL sprain. Smith is healthy heading into this season and remains Arizona's clear No. 1 goaltender. Even so, the 32-year-old has just one above-average season (2011-12) as a starter on his resume, and is not likely to trend up into the elite group of NHL goalies. What he does have working for him is volume, as he can be expected to make around 60 starts again and rack up a decent win total in 2014-15.
Smith may be the Coyotes' biggest fantasy question mark heading into this season. Was his stunning playoff season two years ago a fluke or was he affected by nagging injuries during his less-than-impressive (15-12-5, .910 save percentage and 2.58 GAA) lockout-shortened season? It's easy to dismiss Smitty as a one-year wonder, but we can't help but think he and super goalie coach Sean Burke will figure things out. We still wouldn't take him with an early pick, but he's undeniably worth rostering, especially as the Coyotes look to add some firepower to their beleaguered offense.
What can really be said about Mike Smith's stunning 2011-12 campaign? The goalie, who found himself in the AHL just a season ago, posted a 38-18-10 record, 2.21 GAA and .930 save percentage in the regular season and led one of the most surprising postseason runs in recent memory. While it might be slightly unrealistic to ask Smith to duplicate his numbers from last year, the retention of Phoenix's own goalie whisperer in coach Sean Burke should reassure fantasy owners that Smith might be able to repeat. And the outstanding blue line talent in front of Smith helps make him a top netminding candidate heading into 2012-13.
Smith undoubtedly has an opportunity to become the No. 1 netminder in Arizona after losing out on the job to Dan Ellis and Dwayne Roloson in Tampa Bay. With the departure of Ilya Bryzgalov, the Coyotes are looking to re-solidify their netminding situation and hope that Smith, who posted a 13-6-1 record, 2.90-GAA, and .899 save percentage in 22 games last season, will ultimately become the anchor in net that carried Phoenix to two consecutive playoff berths. We wouldn't be surprised to see Phoenix roll with Smith out of the gate, especially since the coaching staff seems to have a strong sense of what to expect from incumbent veteran Jason LaBarbera.
Smith's tenure in Tampa Bay has been utterly forgettable. And just when he seemed healthy and ready to get back on track, he found out the team signed Dan Ellis as a backup. Best-case scenario is a platoon; worst-case scenario is either injured (again) or picking splinters out of his glutes. And none of those options is effective in the fantasy arena.
Smith was almost single-handedly keeping the Bolts in games and in the overall hunt when he finally sat down with that concussion. Trouble is, he played through it for far too long and then admitted that it wasn’t the first time he’d taken a knock to the noggin. He needs to return to his previous form; we’re just not sure if he’ll do it right out of training camp. And cumulative categories like goals-against and save percentage are tough holes to climb out of. You’ll need insurance, maybe in the form of Antero Niittymaki, if you draft Mr. Smith.
Smith plays his best inside a controlled, systematic defense but there won’t be any of that in Central Florida. He should fend off Olaf Kolzig to retain the starter’s gig. But don’t be surprised to see him sit for stretches if Olie re-kindles the magic.
Enters training camp with the backup job to Marty Turco as Smith's to lose after outperforming Dan Ellis at Iowa last season.
Expected to spend the year at Iowa of the AHL, splitting time in net with Dan Ellis.