After one-half season of vacillating, general manager Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett settled on their number one goalie.
No surprise they selected Mike Smith and this only reinforces a decision made back in training camp. The problem here is that Smith was off to a terrible start and lost the opener at home 6-2 on Oct. 9 to the Winnipeg Jets.
Then, the avalanche. Smith proceeded to drop six of his first eight games this season and benched for three contests against the Kings, the Preds and the Capitals in the Coyotes’ first 11 games.
That’s when back-up Devan Dubnyk entered the crease and turned in a winning record.
His reward was a trade late Wednesday afternoon to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a third round pick int he 2015 draft. At the time of the trade, Dybnyk had a 9-5-2 and then shipped to the tundra of Minnesota.
With the transaction, the Coyotes are now committed to Smith and his career-high 3.52 goals against average for the rest of this season. Coming into his next start at home against Calgary Thursday night, Smith has won only seven games (7-17-2) in his 26 starts and retains a .885 save percentage.
Still, the veteran net minder from Kingston, Ont. said he sees life after his dreadful start.
recovering from a terrible beginning
“Consistency, that’s what I need to figure out,” Smith said after a recent practice. “Funny as it seems but I felt good after that St. Louis game. I felt the confidence coming back and the old swagger.”
The reference here was to a 6-0 defeat to the Blues at home on Jan. 6. The St Louis loss was in the middle of a four-game run in which Smith went 2-2.
In this stretch, Smith clearly experienced bouts of inconsistency. In the win over Columbus on Jan. 3, he allowed three goals and in the victory against Jets, Smith surrendered one goal.
In his next start last Saturday against the Sens at home, Mikkel Boedker’s goal early in the first period gave the Coyotes a quick 1-0 lead but Smith then allowed five unanswered goals in an eventual 5-1 defeat.
Now, he assumes the mettle and hopes to regain his production of the past.
At this point, the Coyotes have little choice.
Here’s a team buried near the bottom of the NHL, and has a penchant to repeat the same mistakes.
One culprit was defenseman Chris Summers, who had a tendency to follow the puck behind his net and leave opposing forwards free and open on the doorstep of the crease. Summers will not not have an opportunity to make similar mistakes because the Coyotes waived the native of Ann Arbor, Mich on Wednesday along with forward Brandon McMilian.
For McMilian, the issue was production.
In 39 games with Arizona, McMilian registered just three points and one goal. His lone tally came on Dec. 16 at home against Edmonton and registered an minus 11.
Against Calgary Thursday night, the Coyotes will take to the ice for their 42nd game, just past the half-way junction.
If they are to show any kinds of life from this point out, Smith will have to undergo a dramatic transformation from his marginal play so far in this season.
Follow Mark Brown on twitter, @journalist193
7 thoughts on “Dubnyk traded: Coyotes Commit To Mike Smith”
Very bad move to trade Dubnyk. If the new owner wanted to rebuild he would start by keeping Dubnyk and dumping the $6 million dollor salary of the washed up has been Mike Smith. This way they could build the team around the younger Dubnyk. I am born and raised in Arizona and was a very strong supporter, but with what is happening and the very real possibility that they will leave for Canada in less than 5 years, I have lost all interest in them. Thanks Barroway for taking our team out of Phoenix. Enjoy
Even SI is saying to Andrew Barroway, continue tanking.
There’s no upside to staying the course. Now is the time to be bold, to follow the lead of the Sabres and embrace the concept of a complete tear-down. Put another way, now is the time to swan dive straight down into the NHL basement, where Arizona will get a lottery chance to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel—and maybe local boy Auston Matthews—next June.
This franchise is be primed for resale/relocation.
Basically a tank. Smith lets in 5 goals a game and we can’t score more than 2…. Trading Yandle would make the team absolutely boring, and Vermette is their best player. Why are players like Hanzal not being traded instead? Why is Erat still taking up a roster spot and our salary? Nah, lets trade dubnyk….
Coyotes neutral zone coverage is nothing like it was back in 2011-2012 regular season so regardless of who you have in net, the goalie is going to be overworked.
NBCSports is reporting the tank, er…rebuilding is now official.
Tanking for McDavid…or Eichel!
You wrote this whole article and didn’t once mention the absurdity of this trade? The league should step in here, and this is from an Oilers fan. Dumping your (by far) best goalie who is 9-5-2 (who only costs you $800,000 this season) to run with a guy who’s got 7 wins in 26 games is the most blatant example of tanking I’ve ever seen. They at least should’ve kept DD and made him only start a few games, and only against teams that would crush Arizona anyway to at least keep the appearance they aren’t tanking. They gave him away for probably nothing at all (3rd rounders very seldom pan out statistically) for absolutely no reason. He was cheap, and already just a backup. I just lost all respect for Maloney and Arizona and I hope they don’t get a top 2 pick.
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