Until number 41 Mike Smith was brought in as the Phoenix Coyotes goaltender there were many things the Desert Dogs had never accomplished. They had never won a division title, they had never advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs, and they had never won the Stanley Cup. Mike Smith helped the team do two of those things, with the third hopefully a short distance away.
With the departure of Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Coyotes were put in the position where they needed to sign a new goaltender. For better or worse goaltending has always been an important piece of the Coyotes, and after losing their star starter to Philly the Coyotes shocked people by bringing in a goaltender who had previously played under Tippett but had never been a starter.
Mike Smith definitely made his presence known the first year with the Yotes. He played in 67 games and had a 38-18-10 record during the regular season, with 8 shutouts and a 2.21 goals against average. While he isn't the sole reason that the Coyotes won the division, but in the playoffs he recorded 9 Coyotes wins, 3 of them shutouts, and a 1.99 goals against record.
During the shortened season last year Mike Smith wasn't able to duplicate the stellar performance he managed the season prior. However just like the fact that he can't take all the credit for the Coyotes going to the playoffs his first year, he isn't entirely to blame for them missing the playoffs his second year. He played 34 games of the shortened season and had a record of 15-12-5 with 5 shutouts and a 2.58 goals against average.
After a little bit of a waiting game during the offseason Mike Smith decided to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes as soon as it became apparent the team would indeed be staying in the Valley of the Sun. He signed a 6 year, $34 million deal with the Coyotes on July 5th, 2013.