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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames acquire Mike Smith from Arizona Coyotes

The Calgary Flames have been searching for stability in net ever since Miikka Kiprusoff retired in 2013. They’ve tried many, many players in net. Faced with more question marks in net, the Flames may have acquired a whole new set of question marks in the form of their new number one goaltender.

According to multiple sources, the Flames have acquired netminder Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes for pending unrestricted free agent Chad Johnson, unsigned college prospect Brandon Hickey and a conditional third round draft pick in 2018 (it becomes a second if the Flames make the playoffs). As part of the deal, Arizona will retain 25% of Smith’s salary which would put his cap hit for the next two seasons at $4.25 million.

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Smith, 35, is both a known quantity and an enigma, as Ari detailed early today. He’s been both very good and very bad for Arizona, to the point where they seem content to go with Louis Domingue as their top netminder for the next while as the team rebuilds yet again – though they’re also in the market for an upgrade. He’s signed for the next two seasons, so presumably the idea is to bridge to one (or both) of Jon Gillies or Tyler Parsons as the next “goalie of the future.” Given his cap hit, presumably this opens the door to Gillies or David Rittich vying for the back-up job in the fall.

Johnson, 31, was a very good back-up for the Flames last season but presumably was hoping to be a starter (which probably wasn’t going to happen in Calgary next season). He can be protected by Arizona without signing a contract, but would need to have a deal in place for the Coyotes to expose him.

Hickey, 21, is headed back to Boston University to be the team’s captain. Given he’s going to be a senior, and that he could become an unrestricted free agent following his senior year, presumably the Flames felt they’d rather get something back for him rather than losing him to free agency for nothing. The fact that Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, Brett Kulak and Adam Fox are all performing well in the system probably made the move easier for the club.

The deal boils down to two players that probably were going to walk at some point in the near-future and a third round pick for a goalie that can play a lot, but is old, expensive and may fall off a cliff in the near-future. It’s definitely a gamble.

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  • Derzie

    Buyer’s market for Calgary and this is what we get. Tell me again how Tre is doing a good job? We give up more assets for a goalie at the end of the line and a clause to have us punished for making the playoffs next year. Problem will be revisited next year.

    • Kevin R

      How about a little more positive story line that Smith has a great year, we head to the playoffs & Gilles & Riitch get some good NHL starts alternating back & forth from Stockton while Parsons & gets his pro feet wet with Gilles & Riitch alternating down on the farm. Next year will be Smith getting less starts & one of our young guys getting more & Pasons getting his last year of seasoning before challenging Riitch or Gilles for the #1 in 2019?

      • Lucky 13

        Agreed, even if we’re all skeptical at this point.
        It is almost for sure we see one of our AHL goalies given a backup role, given what Tre gave up for Smith.

        Also .. think of this.. if you’re the opposition, would you want to crash Smiths crease? Heaven help the player who gets in his blue paint! He’ll probably run anyone that gets in his face.. good ole fashioned Hextall crazies in him.
        We have solved our Ducks curse, Smith will absolutely hack the crap outta Perry and Kessler.

  • Skylardog

    Hate to say it, but this one closes the book on BT for me. I was thinking he was doing ok, not great, but ok. My faith in his capability is now destroyed.

    Ad many of you know I am not a GG fan. you can now add BT to that list as well. Its a shame, we have such a great core.

    • Lucky 13

      I’m sorry you feel that way, however if we make postseason again (which we will) you can most certainly say Smith did exactly what was asked of him!

      So you don’t like GG, Gaudreau and now Treliving? Got it

      We have a great core, now we can add Smith to this… I’m more of a positive type guy and I’m not unhappy with Smith as our starter… but that’s just me

  • Legend of Weevil

    This is a terrible deal. This offseason was Calgarys best chance at getting a legitimate starting goaltender. Fleury, Mason,Bishop, Ranta were all available. Instead Calgary goes for the oldest, most prone to injury and most inconsistent goalie they can find

    • Franko J

      I stand corrected. Like you Puckhead I was thinking the Flames were giving up a second rounder next year, don’t worry if Smith is the starter next season the Flames will be competing in the draft lottery.

    • McRib

      2016-2017 Save Percentages. Antti Raanta 0.922, Mike Smith 0.914, Ben Bishop 0.910, MA Fleury 0.909, Steve Mason 0.908.

      Outside of Raanta who played in a cushy backup position on a much much better team Smith. Smith out performed every single one of the goaltenders you mention last year on a basement dweller.

        • McRib

          In three of the last four years Mike Smith has been a 0.915. He had a bad year in 2014-2015 (still better than Steve Mason last year), which would really scew that three year total. Arizona was the second worst team in the league that season and didn’t have a single player hit 50 points.

      • Skylardog

        Lets not for get Anders Nilsson – UFA, 23 starts, 10 wins, 10 losses and a .923 on Buffalo. And only 27 years old. Offer him $3.0 for 2 and he signs with us for $1.5 less than Smith.

        Smith has had nagging injuries the last few years, only played 32 games in 2015/16, or missed about half the season. If I remember it has been his groin, the injury older goalies seem to suffer from.

      • McRib

        “most prone to injury”

        When has Mike Smith been injured? He has played in more than 30 GP in last six NHL season. Once again I don’t love this trade, but come on now let’s act reasonably.

        • McRib

          NYR was still miles better than Arizona, even if they were vastly overrated (Raanta has never played more than 30 GP in a year in his career, who knows what he does with tougher workload).

          In my own defenseman I was on here earlier this week saying that I wanted Raanta above everyone else, but Smith was better last year than every other goaltender on the market this summer (Steve Mason is laughable, Philly was a legit team with even decent goaltending).

          I don’t love this move, but who knows what the asking price was on Raanta, it could have been insanity high. Smith is more than capable of getting us into the playoffs, something Elliot did with only a 0.910 last year and by the end of next year Rittich, Gillies and Parsons could both be ready for prime time.

  • snotss

    this will blow up in the flames faces just as it did last year…another stop gap move…better goalies are available but the brass seem to want the band aid fix…they will be in the exact same position this time next year!!!!!!poor management again…fix the goalie problem…this deal doesn’t even begin to fix the problem

    • whysoserious

      I am relieved that Treliving did not go after the goalie names most on this site were advocating and giving up high or potentially high level players as a result. i.e. Bennett, Ferland etc. We have a goalie jam of developing goalie prospects that we need to see what we have before we lose them outright. So many are complaining that we are not giving our prospects a chance yet but when management gives us a preview of that coming to fruition, it sounds like a baby ward. Smith would be an excellent mentor for our up and comers, just the puck handling alone will be worth the price we just paid. I was so frustrated last year when our goalies had a hard time stopping dump ins and consequently our D would have to go deep to start our break outs from deep in our end or get driven into the boards by hard driving opposition forwards. You know who benefits significantly from this move? Johnny Hockey, as now he can legitimately go to offense way sooner because the puck will likely out of our zone that much quicker. Folks, this is going to be fun to watch!

  • JoelOttosJock

    So is Tre going to take all the Coyotes garbage? Stone..now Smith..what is next..Doan? Terrible trade. I dont mind losing the pick or Hickey but it is eho we got. I really hope that Tre looks like a genius this time next year..doubtful..but here is hoping

    • Jobu

      We needed a proven goalie to hold the fort while our young stars grow into a starters role. We got exactly what we needed. Don’t forget, this guy single handedly brought a garbage team into the western final only a few years back… Give him a chance people!

  • flamesburn89

    At 35 years old, there is a chance that Smith’s play falls off a cliff over these next 2 years. His track record is average at best, as he only has 1 season of over .920 sv% play in the NHL. I do not like this deal at all, as I’m not convinced Smith is an upgrade on Elliot. Time will tell, but I think there is a better than even chance that the Flames are once again looking for a goalie this time next year.