With Smith hurt, Coyotes ‘willing to pay up an asset’ to get a ‘top-end goaltender’

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Arizona netminder Mike Smith is out 8-10 weeks after core muscle surgery, meaning starting duties in the desert are now with Anders Lindback.

Well they’re with Lindback for now, anyway.

“We’re looking at everything and anything,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney said of the club’s goalie situation, per AZ Central. “We are looking. If there’s a way to get a top-end goaltender that’s a long-term value to the franchise, we’re willing to pay up an asset for that.”

It’s a telling statement.

The Coyotes know what bad goaltending can do to a team — it’s something they experienced last year, when Smith struggled mightily through one of the worst campaigns of his career.

Subsequently, Arizona lost 58 times and finished 29th in the NHL.

So even though Maloney has Smith locked in for four more years at $5.66 million per — and even though he’s expressed confidence in Lindback and new No. 2 Louis Domingue — the Coyotes GM clearly doesn’t want another frustrating, losing environment to develop, especially with prized prospects Max Domi and Anthony Duclair in the fold.

Thing is, there aren’t many enticing options on the market.

Arizona passed on claiming Anaheim netminder Anton Khudobin off waivers this week — the Coyotes could revisit Khudobin via trade, however, to send some money back the Ducks’ way — and some of the names bandied about (Ben Scrivens, Niklas Backstrom) don’t exactly inspire.

Maloney’s also made it clear he’s not interested in a rental-type goalie.

“What I’m not going to do is pay a good asset for the next three months,” he said. “I’m not going to do that.”