According to a report from Postmedia Calgary Flames beat reporter Kristen Anderson, Flames goaltender Mike Smith WILL NOT travel with his team on their upcoming road trip.
As Anderson points out, Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan feels that Smith will be better served by rehabbing his injury back in Calgary, rather than on the road. Fair point. But, what this also means is that Smith doesn’t appear to be close at all to returning.
The Flames have been awfully secretive on Smith’s return since the 35-year-old netminder went down with injury nearly a month ago. But one thing’s for sure: the Flames NEED their 2017-18 MVP back in the lineup ASAP. The Flames have dropped three straight and are currently three points back of the Anaheim Ducks for the final Wild Card spot in the NHL’s Western Conference.
Smith has been a revelation for the Flames this season after being acquired by the team in the offseason from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for goaltender Chad Johnson, defenseman prospect Brandon Hickey and a conditional third-round pick. In 47 games this season, Smith has put up 23 wins and sports a stellar 2.53 goals against average (GAA) and .921 save percentage. Those numbers, the best for the netminder in over five seasons, are a big part of the reason that the Flames were considered to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender at the midway point of the season. With Smith's future now in doubt though, there aren't many fans or analysts picking the Flames to hoist the Cup later this summer.
If Smith can rehab his injury and get back to his dominant self however, anything is possible.