I don’t think any of us were overly excited when the Flames announced that their solution to the goaltending problem prior to the 2017-18 season was Mike Smith. He was 35 years old at the time and had been languishing out in the Arizona desert with the Coyotes for the last six seasons, with five winning seasons in his career to his name in 12 years. He was another stop gap in a long line of stop gaps since Miikka Kiprusoff retired. But he came to Calgary and played very well for a team that needed some help in the crease.
Mike Smith’s time in Calgary was a little different than in Phoenix/Arizona from the standpoint that he didn’t need to be the work horse and carry the load. For both seasons he was with the Flames he would work in a 1A/1B relationship with various goalies (Eddie Lack, Jon Gillies, David Rittich), which made him effective. He posted back to back winning seasons with Calgary, the first he’d accomplished that feat since 2011 and 2012. He would play in 81 regular season games over his two years, compiling a record of 48-38-8 with a GAA of 2.68 and a Save% of .909.
Smith would have an odd 2018-19 season as he was the starter, but he was losing ground to upstart goalie David Rittich as the season progressed. He would however, help spear head a dominant Flames team during the year, as Calgary would finish with the best record in the Western Conference and second best in the NHL behind the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite Rittich having better regular season numbers(27-9-5 to Smith’s 23-16-2), Smith was given the nod as the Flames starting goalie during the playoffs that year. It wasn’t a success for him or the team. Smith would play in all five playoff games, winning only one time as the Colorado Avalanched surprised the Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning the series 4-1.
After that season Calgary decided it had seen enough of David Rittich to know it was time to move on from Mike Smith. Smith would ultimately sign with the Edmonton Oilers for the 2019-20 season and in a weird twist, Calgary would sign Edmonton’s free agent goalie Cam Talbot. And to add more weirdness to everything, the two goalies would end up in a fight during a Flames/Oilers game during that season.
Smith is currently still under contract with the Edmonton Oilers for one season.
Other Players Having Worn #41 In Flames History
Alan May (1995), Dale McTavish (1997), Dustin Boyd (2007-08), Raitis Ivanans (2011-12), Daniel Taylor (2013), Chad Billins (2014), Matthew Phillips (2020)
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by Mark Parkinson