GLENDALE -- Goalie Mike Smith will represent the Coyotes at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game later this month in Los Angeles.
"I'm honored," said Smith, one of the 40 All-Stars announced by the League on Tuesday. "It's something I'll probably cherish for a long time."
Smith, 34, learned he would be an NHL All-Star on Monday night. Coyotes General Manager John Chayka left him a voicemail, and Smith returned the call and got the news.
"I wasn't looking forward to the call back," Smith said, thinking perhaps he'd been traded. "I think you think the worst when your general manager calls you on your bye week ... At first, I was kind of shocked ... It's special. As you get older you start to realize that your playing time in the League is evaporating before your eyes."
Smith has compiled a 183-183-56 record and 30 shutouts in 443 career NHL games with the Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning. This season, Smith, who missed 12 games because of injury, has produced a 2.83 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. His best performance came Dec. 3 vs. Columbus when he made a franchise record 58 saves on 60 shot attempts.
"Being a goalie, you don't get to an All-Star Game or have good personal stats if it wasn't for the team in front of you," Smith said.
Smith is the third Coyotes goalie picked for an NHL All-Star Game following Nikolai Khabibulin (1998 and 1999) and Sean Burke (2001 and 2002).
Each NHL division is represented by six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies at the NHL All-Star Game. The divisional teams will compete head-to-head in the Skills Competition on Saturday, Jan. 28, and then will face off in semifinal games Sunday, Jan. 29. The winners of the semifinal games will play for the championship. Each game is played in a three-on-three format with two 10-minute halves.
"It's crazy for the goalies, but three-on-three is exciting," Smith said. "The fans love it (and) I think the players like it. I'm not sure the goalies love it, but it's exciting for everyone, and I'm just excited to play with the list of players that I'm joining and I'm excited to be a part of it. It's the best players in the League. In a format like that it's kind of scary for a goaltender, but it will be a lot of fun."
Arizona resumes play on Friday at home vs. Winnipeg. Smith is hopeful the Coyotes (12-22-6) can build momentum off a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders on the night before their "bye week" began.
"As of late, our team has definitely grown as a group and the younger kids are really starting to make an impact on our team," Smith said. "It's my job to be back there and kind of be a stabilizing force for the young group and I've just tried to have that mindset this year."