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BLOG: Smith a firm believer in Tippett's coaching

"He has a very structured system that I really believe in, and I think he really gets the most out of his players," the 37-year-old netminder said

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - Newly-signed Oilers goaltender Mike Smith's appreciation for the coaching ability of Head Coach Dave Tippett has been well documented over his 13-year NHL career.

For the third time, the 37-year-old joins up with the new Oilers bench boss after first breaking into the League under Tippett with the Dallas Stars (2006-07) before a further seven seasons together with the Arizona Coyotes (2011-2017).

"Tippett was a big reason why my career kind of turned around in Arizona, bringing me there and giving me a chance to be a number-one guy and play a lot of games," Smith said on Monday.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound netminder enjoyed his most successful season in Arizona under Tippett in his first campaign with the Desert Dogs in '11-12, posting a 38-18-10 record and a .930 save percentage and 2.21 goals-against average.

"I have a lot of respect for the way he coaches, the way he treats people, his transparency is unlike a lot of coaches, he's very honest, and I think all you can ask for as a player is knowing where you stand and Tipp is that kind of coach," Smith said. "He has a very structured system that I really believe in, and I think he really gets the most out of his players.

"I'm excited he reached out and is giving me another opportunity in Edmonton."

Video: AUDIO | Mike Smith Interview

Smith holds a career .912 SV% and 2.70 GAA in 571 games played, most recently completing two seasons with the Calgary Flames and showing well with a .917 SV% in five postseason contests in '18-19. During the regular season, Smith got an ice-level view of the Oilers and their potential from the opposing crease during a handful of heated Battle of Alberta clashes.

"They were competitive every time we played them last year," Smith said. "I think they probably underachieved last year if you talk to players on their team, and I think Tipp will be a really good solution to getting this team back on track and being really competitive every single night.

"They have game-changers who in the blink of an eye can change the game. That's important, and the depth of this team is a lot better than everyone gives them credit for."

Known as a playoff performer and a netminder with a knack for playing the puck, Smith anticipates playing a veteran role with his new club both on and off the ice.

"I'm going to come in there and hopefully stabilize the back end, and my puck-handling I think is a big attribute for the defence core and I'm looking forward to this new chapter."

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