Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/01/13 at 09:22 AM ET
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
Smith is the team’s top unrestricted free agent, and he’ll be the most coveted goalie July 5 when the free-agent market opens for business. After only two seasons as a No. 1, Smith has made it clear he considers himself among the elite of the position and expects a salary to match.
And if the Coyotes let him reach free agency, it’s very likely another team will meet Smith’s monetary expectations. He’s enjoyed recent playoff success, has a likeable personality and is the star attraction in a shallow goalie market....
“I’m not gonna be selfish with this whole situation and demand this stupid contract that we’re not going to be able to build a team around,” Smith said. “I believe you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There’s good players that make a lot of money, and I think I deserve a fair contract. By any means I’m not expecting to hit a home run.”
A hometown discount, it seems, is a possibility, but Smith needs other assurances before agreeing to stick with the Coyotes.
“The biggest part about me signing back here will be: Is the ownership group coming in, is this going to be a place that free agents are going to want to come and play and are they going to spend the money to make this a better team on an every-year basis?” Smith said. “I think that’s the most intriguing piece of the puzzle.”
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