GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Phoenix Coyotes have locked up their top offseason priority, signing goalie Mike Smith to a six-year deal that averages around $5.7 million per season.
Smith and the Coyotes agreed to the deal over the weekend and received approval of the contract from the NHL on Monday.
The 31-year-old Smith had mostly been a backup before leading the Coyotes to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 2011-12, his first season as Phoenix's No. 1 goalie. Smith was about to become a free agent and had been waiting for clarity on the Coyotes' ownership situation before signing.
The City of Glendale is set to vote on a lease agreement with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment on Tuesday, the last major hurdle in the group's attempt to buy the franchise from the NHL.
"We are pleased to sign Mike to a multi-year contract," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said in a statement. "Mike has emerged as a top NHL goaltender with his size, athletic ability and strong work ethic. He is capable of leading us to a Stanley Cup championship, the goal of our franchise. This is an important signing for our Club."
Smith signed with Phoenix in 2011 after spending the previous six seasons with Dallas and Tampa Bay.
He was stellar in his first true shot at being a No. 1 goalie, winning 38 games with a 2.21 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and a franchise-record-tying eight shutouts. The Coyotes won their first division title in 33 years as an NHL franchise and went to the conference finals for the first time that season.
Smith wasn't quite as good in the final year of his contract, going 15-12-5 with a 2.58 goals-against average and a save percentage of .910 while fighting injuries during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. The Coyotes finished four points out of the West's final playoff spot.
Continue reading this story on the...