It’s All About The Goalies: Labarbera, Mcelhinney and Smith

The Phoenix Coyotes have been so close to breaking through the NHL’s elite in the past few seasons. The club is improving with every season but the 2011-2012 season offers new challenges for Coyotes. For the past 3 seasons, the team has had a go to starting goalie in Ilya Bryzgalov and he is considered one of the world’s best. With his contract expiring and Ilya leaving for the East coast, a lot of Coyote fans have been wondering who will be between the pipes come next season.

Although Phoenix lost their franchise netminder, they wasted no time jumping on available free agents and signed two goalies who have shown promise in the NHL. After Bryzgalov left, the long time back up Jason Labarbera was signed to an extension to stay with the team. They front office then went out and signed Curtis Mcelhinney and Mike Smith. Mcelhinney played in Ottawa and Anaheim last season and Smith was battling for a starting role with Tampa Bay before Dwayne Roloson came to town. That leaves the Coyotes with three capable goalies who have had some degree of NHL experience. They are all big guys and have the ability to carry a team on their back. Each of them has some skills that outweigh the other goaltenders on the roster. Mike Smith seems to be the consensual starter as of now, the way he plays the puck is considered the best in the league and his 6″ 4′ body size can make a few saves.

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