Eleven seasons in the NHL and goaltender Mike Smith is finally getting his chance to play in a Canadian market.
And he couldn’t be happier.
The Kingston, Ont., native was on Tim and Sid Monday, where he expressed his excitement at joining the Calgary Flames.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Calgary organization now,” he said of the deal that brought him over from the Arizona Coyotes.
Playing for the Flames will bring about a whole new set of expectations and attention that Smith didn’t get in Arizona, something the netminder is looking forward to.
“It’s going to be a change but I think I’m excited about that opportunity,” he said. “I’m really excited about being able to have a chance to play in Canada before my career is over.”
The 35-year-old is joining a Flames team that was swept out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past spring by the Anaheim Ducks.
The Coyotes — with whom Smith spent the past six seasons — haven’t made the post-season in five straight years and Smith is excited to get a taste of playoff action with the Flames.
“That’s what every professional wants, is a chance to win,” he said. “It hasn’t gone that away in Arizona that last five years which has been unfortunate — you always want to be on a winning team and have a chance to reach the ultimate goal and I think the way that (Calgary is) built, they have that opportunity to do something special.
“I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.”
The last time Smith played in the post-season was in 2012, when he led the Coyotes to the Western Conference Final. He has a 1.88 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in 19 career playoff games.
“I’ve lost for too long now and I think I’m ready for that chance to really be on a winning team and have that winning energy around you,” said Smith of playing in Calgary. “Everyone expects you to win there.”
Smith wasn’t the only former Coyote to be in the news this week.
Arizona informed longtime captain Shane Doan on Monday that he would not be offered a contract to remain with the team, ending a 21-year run with the franchise.
That Doan wasn’t given the opportunity to decide for himself whether he would play another season in the desert caught Smith off-guard.
“It’s a little bit unfortunate that it wasn’t his call but that’s hockey and thats life I guess,” said Smith. “To have the chance to have played the last six years with him has meant the world to me… I owe a lot to him and I wish him all the best.”