Earlier today the Phoenix Coyotes announced that they had re-signed Goaltender Coach Sean Burke. In addition to his job overseeing the Coyotes goalies, Burke will also be involved in all areas of hockey operation, working with General Manager Don Maloney, Assistant GM Brad Treliving and Director of Administration Chris O'Hearn. This will be a multi-year contract, with the deals not being fully released, but hopefully he will be sticking around for a long time.
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No offense to Andy Miele, Alexandre Bolduc, or Kyle Chipchura but I think this may be the biggest re-signing for the Coyotes so far and will only be topped when the Coyotes re-sign Shane Doan. Burke seems to be a big reason for our goalies success, he did great things with Ilya Bryzgalov and he turned Mike Smith into one of the NHL's best goalies, and our goaltenders are a major factor for the success of the Coyotes.
Mike Smith himself believes that he is a better goalie because of Burke, as Sarah McLellan reported back in May:
"I think it has an impact on it," Smith said. "Obviously his contract is up. I have a year left. Looking at the long-term, he's made me a better goaltender. I couldn't have done it without him, and I believe he's the best guy in the league at what he does. To be able to have a guy like that to lean on and he shows confidence in me every game whether I'm at my best or not, it's very easy to go out there and just do what I have to do and be the best."
Smitty's numbers also speak for the power of Burke. He was 38-18-10 with 8 shut outs during the regular season and was 9-7-3 with 3 shut outs during the playoffs. That's a pretty big improvement over a goalie who spent part of last season in the AHL and was 13-6-1 with the Lightning.
Smith was one of the biggest reasons the Coyotes got as deep as they did in the playoffs, some could argue he is the biggest reason for their success, and one of the biggest reasons for Smith's success is Burke. We all know it and it sounds like Smith knows it too.
Hopefully this will lead to GMDM extending Smith's contract to keep him locked down for the next few years. I would be more than happy to see Smith retire as a Coyote as opposed to him signing a humungous big contract in Philadelphia like our last star goaltender. Smith seems to appreciate the chance he has been given and the people who helped him get where he is and I think as long as those people are with the team he will stay with it.