Mike Smith’s name has been coming up in connection to the Calgary Flames for some time now. The reason? The Flames do not have any NHL goalies signed for the 2017-18 season, and presumably, they may like one. Smith, it would seem, has been a target of theirs – and with the expansion draft trade deadline approaching fast at 1 p.m. MT today, if a deal is to be made, it is to be made very, very soon.
Im not sure of everything involved here, but hearing CAL and ARIZ are working on a Mike Smith deal
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 17, 2017
Nothing official just yet, but all indications are goaltender Mike Smith is indeed off to CGY.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 17, 2017
Smith is a 35-year-old goalie who has another two years left on his deal. He carries a cap hit of $5,666,667. In other words, he is both old and expensive.
Targeting Smith kind of makes sense in the sense that the Flames have lacked stability in net for several seasons now, and Smith could, in theory, be the answer. He’s signed for another two years, after all, and he has history of being a starter ever since he joined the Arizona-then-Phoenix Coyotes back in 2011-12. Through the six seasons he’s played for them, he has started 310 games, and posted a .916 save percentage.
Sounds good, right? He’s coming off of a .914 save percentage for one of the worst teams in the NHL this past season, and had an even strength save percentage of .924 – tied for 13th in the NHL among goalies who played at least half the season.
Two seasons ago, he posted a save percentage of .904, with an even strength save percentage of .912. That was the last time he started 60+ games in a season.
So targeting Smith is a pretty big gamble, made even bigger by the fact that he is both old and expensive. Are the Flames going to get the Smith who was decent, but not stellar, for a bad team this past season? Or are they going to get the inconsistent player who has already shown cracks, all while committing to him for a rather sizeable cap hit?
Of course, this could be contingent on just who the Flames are giving up, or what they may be getting back. If Troy Brouwer is headed to Arizona, then that offsets a fair bit of Smith’s incoming cap hit, all the while freeing up a forward spot for a better player. If the Flames are able to recuperate some picks in this trade, or even a decent prospect (Anthony Duclair?) then it looks a whole lot different.
But in the meantime, the idea of targeting Smith is strange, especially considering where the Flames are as they start to enter their window of contention. And if this risk doesn’t pay off, then the consequences could be rather bad.