Shane Doan will be back with the Coyotes next season.
He hopes Mike Smith is too.
To that end, the Phoenix captain admitted he’s openly lobbied Smith — an unrestricted free agent on July 5 — to re-sign in the desert.
“I didn’t put any undue pressure on him, other than how badly I want to play with him and be with him on my team,” Doan told the Arizona Republic. “I think that’s well-known.”
Doan told the Republic he and Smith crossed paths in Vancouver 10 days ago, at which time Doan made his pitch for Smith to stick with the ‘Yotes.
It’ll be interesting to see what Smith does.
The 31-year-old has enjoyed a career renaissance in Phoenix. He finished fourth in Vezina and 11th in Hart Trophy voting last season, thanks to a stellar campaign in which he won 38 games while posting a 2.21 GAA, .930 save percentage and eight shutouts.
This year, Smith battled through injury to appear in 34 games for Phoenix and while his numbers were down — .910 save percentage, 2.58 GAA — he did post a NHL-high five shutouts.
The former Stars and Lightning goalie is hitting free agency at a strange time. His performance warrants a raise on the two-year, $4 million deal he signed with Phoenix in 2011, but the salary cap is falling to $64.3 million and the goalie market is flush.
Smith, Niklas Backstrom and Evgeni Nabokov are all legit No. 1 netminders that could become UFAs, and the trade market is expected to include the likes of Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier.
As for Doan, he’s just hoping Smith chooses Phoenix — and chooses soon.
“It would be huge for us to get our answers and not have to worry about that,” Doan said.
“Nothing would make me happier.”