Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney: Mike Smith has come back with a vengeance
Will the real Mike Smith please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.
Really, will he please stand up?
Smith, the 33-year-old Arizona Coyotes netminder, was never the reason for the team’s struggles, but at the same time, too often he was not the guy who could fix things, either.
But though he is carrying a 13-39 record with five overtime losses along with a 3.14 GAA and .904 save percentage, things seem to have clicked over the last two months or so.
In December, Smith gave up an average of 4.35 goals per game. That number dropped to 3.50 in January, 2.94 in February and 2.42 in March.
Though wins have not come with his resurgence, the goalie’s strong finish to the season is not a bad thing.
“This is certainly the Mike Smith we know and know how good he can be,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday morning. “What I’m excited about is the consistency of his performance is back, where he’s continually being bombarded with shots and yet keeps us in games.”
In 2011-12, when Smith was at his best, he was good enough to carry a solid-but-not-great Coyotes team to the Western Conference Finals. This season, there is little doubt his issues can in part be attributed to a lack of talent around him. However, seeing him take his game to a level where that can be mitigated a bit is a good sign for the future.
“As we improve our offense, we know that Mike can be that backstop that really helps us get back to respectability,” Maloney said. “At least he’s come back with a vengeance, and said, ‘Hey, don’t forget about me, I’m still around.’
“You think about him, if we can get him at this level next year, starting from day one, and get (Martin) Hanzal back and (Mikkel) Boedker back and then some other additions, we’ll certainly have a much better season going forward.”