This past Sunday, the Arizona Coyotes rightfully retired the jersey of Mr. Coyote...Shane Doan. Shane Doan IS the Arizona Coyotes franchise and his contributions on and off the ice have been a great consistency for a franchise cursed with inconsistency. Now, we can start up the hot take machine on who SHOULD be the next Arizona Coyote to join number 19 in the rafters.
The next Arizona Coyote to have his jersey retired should be Mike Smith...
To me, this seems like a hot take and I get that. I mean, we should start with the fact that Mike Smith is STILL playing which puts a damper on these plans. However, with all of the reasonable options being taken and the lack of worthy jersey retirements within the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes history....it just makes sense.
Let us start with some stats, Mike Smith’s numbers tell a story of someone who was inconsistent in terms of game played however he was rather consistent in his winning. Over his 6 years in the valley, he average a record of 21-22-7. Given the franchises history, that is not too bad. Also, he has 1 career goal which has him tied for second all time. He is one of only 11 NHL Goalies to have a goal. That same goal was a rather cool moment as well:
Smith’s impact was not just in the hardcore stats. During his first season with the team (2011-2012) the team had its best season ever. Let me repeat that...BEST SEASON EVER. The Arizona Coyotes were 0-7 in the playoffs before his first year. During this season, the Arizona Coyotes were one series away from a freaking Stanley Cup! Smith was an All Star while finishing 4th in the Venzina Trophy voting, and 11th in the Hart Trophy voting in that year as well. That means something. He also played the position in an unorthodox way that allowed the team to have multiple ways to attack you. While it did open him up to mistakes and unfortunate plays, it was entertaining.
For a franchise that has its fair amount of questions and issues, why would we not want to remember the good old days? With this move, Smith’s 41 would be hung in the rafters and given its fair share in the Arizona Coyotes franchise history. Why there was that HORRIFIC season where he went 14-42, there is still enough to allow for a jersey retirement.
When formulating the idea for this story, I worked through every possible option and was intrigued by Mike Smith’s legacy with the Yotes. Goalies are the last line of defense and under Mike Smith’s guard, that defense was pretty darn good.