Phoenix Coyotes Sign Mike Smith

July 01, 2011

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Jeff Ponder

Phoenix Coyotes Sign Mike Smith

The most generic name in sports is officially a Phoenix Coyote.

Mike Smith, who played for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, will be given a shot at being a #1 goaltender this coming season. 

Ilya Bryzgalov, former starting goalie for the Coyotes, had a high asking-price that Phoenix could not meet.  They shipped his rights to Philadelphia and re-signed back-up goalie Jason LaBarbera to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.

Rumors are that LaBarbera will be given a chance to be the top guy next season, but Mike Smith was brought in as a possible split-starter.  The contract is reportedly a two-year deal that will pay him $4 million ($2M cap-hit).

Smith posted a 13-6-1 record last season with Tampa Bay, recording a 2.90 GAA and a .899 save percentage.  Smith had his best season in 2006-07 as a member of the Dallas Stars, posting a 12-9-0 record with a 2.23 GAA and a .912 save percentage.

Smith and LaBarbera are a downgrade from Bryzgalov, but they will be serviceable goaltenders.  If the Coyotes’ offense can continue to score goals and defenseman Keith Yandle can continue to rack up a ton of minutes and stop opposing teams’ offenses, the Coyotes should still be in great shape in 2011-12.

Follow Jeff Ponder on Twitter (@jponder94) for all the latest updates on free-agent signings today.

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