Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith had surgery Tuesday to repair a core muscle injury and is expected to miss 8-10 weeks, the Coyotes announced.
Smith is 10-9-1 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 22 games this season for Arizona, which is in second place in the Pacific Division.
"We expect him back, 100 percent healthy, hopefully before the end of the season," general manager Don Maloney said in comments tweeted by the Coyotes. "It had been lingering for a little while and it got to the point where he couldn't play anymore."
Goalie Anders Lindback will get the majority of work with Smith out, but the Coyotes will explore trade options to add a goaltender.
"For a starting goalie, you need to step it up and be able to steal some games here and there and be steady at all times," Lindback said.
Lindback is 4-5-1 with a 2.92 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 12 games. He appeared in an NHL career-high 26 games last season, split between the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres.
"Anders showed at the last part of last year [with the Sabres] that he can carry the ball," Maloney said. "He'll certainly have his chance now."
Smith was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12. He won 38 games with a 2.21 GAA and .930 save percentage and led the Coyotes to the Western Conference Final, the last time they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We have to play well in front of the goalie no matter who it is," coach Dave Tippett said. "That's our mission right now."