The Calgary Flames will continue their explosive season with high scoring, strong D, and now officially consistent goaltending.
As last season began, it became clear that Elliott was the wrong goalie. Elliott struggled immensely and even lost his starting job to career backup goalie, Chad Johnson. Although he claimed his starting job back, Elliott never was the elite goalie that the Flames needed him to be. His playoff performance for the Flames was also abysmal enough to ensure that he would not return. Even with a miraculous run at the end of the season, Elliot’s tenure in Calgary had expired.
This offseason, the Flames decided to trade for Mike Smith to replace Elliott. Smith is a proven veteran in the league who has had success. He almost singlehandedly willed the Coyotes to a Western Conference Championship
There is no doubt that Smith will have a lot more help playing for the Flames. If all goes well, his win totals will increase and it could spark a new level of confidence. Smith was in need of a new start and he now has it. With players like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan carrying the offense, he does not have much to worry about at all.
The Flames also have a stacked D core around Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, TJ Brodie and newly acquired Travis Hamonic.
Previously Smith was a late pick due to the poor team that relied on him. The Flames are a highly effective team that required goaltending. Smith’s value has increased as he has become a good player on a great team.
The Coyotes allowed the most high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five in the league last year. Smith has posted a .915 save percentage and 2.82 GAA through 87 games over the past two seasons, but league-average goaltending shouldn’t be scoffed at in any fantasy circle.
Additionally, he’s clearly ahead of Eddie Lack in the pecking order, and Smith should receive a hefty workload of approximately 55 starts.
Smith is currently ranked 103rd on NHL.com, and his ADP (which is subject to significant change) sits around 100 as well. In a 10 man league that would be a steal. If a fantasy player could secure Smith as a second goalie, preferably after the 10th round he would provide immediate and immense value to your team.
Using the current projections there are 19 goalies with the genuine potential to top 30 wins. Smith is on that list, projected to sneak 31. In my opinion, Smith has the ability to win closer to 35 games. Elliot won 26 games last season, playing in only 45 games. Smith can play at least 10 more games, and put up a better win percentage.
His save percentage will 100% go up, along with his total amount of wins. Unfortunately his shot total will decrease (but that’s because he played in the desert). Elliot averaged 27 shots per game, whereas Smith averaged 33 shots per game, and played 6 more games. He had 19 wins last season, and 26 losses.