Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Calgary Flames trading for Mike Smith

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.

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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.

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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.

  • kipper2004

    I don’t see a problem with Smith being any worse than Elliot with Johnson as his wingman. That is allot of experience in the crease. Smith is a leader in Pheonix, is a great competitor and probably the best puck handling goalie in the nhl. Those attributes don’t sound too bad for a young flames team that needs a leader plus BTW knows what he is getting due to his time with Pheonix. If we could only get rid of Brouwer in the deal then I wouldn’t even care if Reggie Lemelin was part of the trade!

    That being said, the market must be high for the Raanta’s et al, so maybe BT is making a move so he isn’t left emptied handed.

    • Kevin R

      I don’t think people realize how much of a role Vegas are playing & a huge roadblock in us acquiring Raanta or Grubauer. Hearing chicago want a cheap high end backup & are dangling Panarin & Anisimov in a deal that could get them maybe one of these goalies & potentially an extra 1st rounder seeing they are hosting the draft. Tre might have said enough, he’ll deal directly with the source & make a deal that isn’t infested with Expansion Draft crabs. I for one think Smith is as good of a bridge as Fleury, or Mason or even Elliott for that matter.

  • RKD

    I’m really not a fan of this move, a 35 year old goalie when you need need deals for Bennett etc. He’s just a stop game guy until Gillies is ready. I was so hoping for Raanta or someone of that age and calibre. Sure the price maybe steep but you can’t cheap out on a goalie.

  • Cfan in Van

    Well, this was last on my list of possibilities. I’d be happier with Elliot and a Riddich/Gillies backup. That would be cheaper too. Optimism… Fading…

  • RKD

    Johnson, Hickey and 3rd for Smith! Are you kidding me? Is this is some kind of joke. Not even Duclair in the deal. Hockey db on Hickey: Hickey has a high level of skill and his physical tools suggest he may be pro ready before using all four years of his NCAA eligibility. Long-term his potential is that of an effective two-way defenseman who is strong in his own end and is a threat in the transition game.

      • McRib

        Hickey is a FA at the end of his year if he goes back to BU, which it appears he is going to do (even though his team is all leaving for greener pastures in Arizona, Boston and even Portland in the WHL). Hickey’s offensive game hasn’t developed at all, really at this point best case he is a third pairing mobile shutdown defender. I don’t even know how many offensive minutes he is going to get as a senior, as Fabbro is sure to pass him on the depth chart as PP Quarterback.

  • Newbietwo

    So we get Smith for $4 million a year for two years.. I just don’t know about this.. Tre what the hell are you thinking man.. while the acquisition cost ain’t bad you just gave up a ton of cap space.. you either have to justify and explain this as the cost for other goalies were much higher or I am totally lost.. you could have had Johnson and Elliot for that

  • Newbietwo

    So let me get this right.. so far the flames have given up most likely two second round picks plus a pick for Johnson for goaltenders plus hickey in the last two years.. that is a very high acquisition cost..

    Now what could we have gotten for two second rounders and a prospect goalie wise? Hmm don’t we wonder “basically most of them”!!

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Tre loves the old school ties.

    Only real positive here is that Smith’s has 2 years left on that contract.

    Not much else to like about this deal for Calgary. The club just got older and lost cap flexibility.

    I wonder if it was a case where Tre waited too long to make a deal and had to settle for potluck, just as some have suggested happened last year in his hiring a coach.

    How bad do the Flames look when a good Alberta boy balks at signing with them? It is not as if the Flames are stacked in the backend with untouchables and blue chippers.

    Bad deal all around. I think keeping Elliott would have been a better move if he could get got at a max of $3M for a year.

  • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

    There’s a few ways that this could go well, so I’m not panicking yet. If Brouwer is going the other way for example. At this point I’m also not ruling out a deal with vegas that involves exposing smith in return for a later deal for another claimed player.

    I’m willing to bet Tre has something up his sleeve here.

      • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

        Could be that. McKenzie suggesting ARI retains salary on Smith. If the choice was between keeping Elliot and losing the 3rd rounder and trading for Smith at a similar cap hit the deal looks decent. Sure Grabauer and Raanta are exciting but who’s to say they’re available at a palatable price?

  • Jobu

    Not sure how I feel about this. Not convinced hes that big an improvement over Elliott. Smith can either be a dominating goalie (looked great during that playoff run a few years back) but also has had too many bad stretches. Can and loves to play the puck, but gets burnt doing it a few times a year. A stop-gap for sure until a Gillies, Rittich or Parsons takes over. I assume one of those 3 will be a part of the deal though.

  • Newbietwo

    What is the flames are getting smith as a side deal with Vegas for fluery? I just don’t see Smith being the end result here folks because it makes no sense

  • Puckhead

    If they retain 25% of his salary that is $4.25M against the cap. This is higher than I was expecting and figured maybe we could have had 2 goalies for less