After a premature announcement a few days ago, this morning the Tampa Bay Lightning officially assigned goaltender Mike Smith to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
This all came about, Smith becoming the odd-man-out in Tampa, with thanks to Mike's knee being injured in practice in December 2010. Smith had won his last two starts in Tampa, but had been the starter in two drubbings in the very recent past (the 6-0 shutout by the Washington Capitals, and the 8-1 massacre in Boston. Both occurred in late November).
Of course, there is more to this story than just Mike Smith's knee; inconsistent play following his concussion from December 2008 turned Mike into a different goaltender than he was before. Or at least, this was how it was seen in the eyes of the fans.
The official team press release is below the jump.
LIGHTNING REASSIGN G MIKE SMITH TO NORFOLK
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltender Mike Smith to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Smith, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, has played in 17 games with the Lightning this season, posting a 10-5-0 record with a 3.20 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage. He recently played in two games with Norfolk during a conditioning stint. While with the Admirals, Smith posted a 0-2-0 record with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.
A native of Kingston, Ontario, Smith has appeared in 157 NHL games with the Lightning and Dallas Stars. Smith has accumulated a 64-65-18 record with a .905 save percentage and a 2.74 goals-against average. He was named to the 2006-07 NHL All-Rookie Team. Prior to his assignment in Norfolk, he last played in the AHL during the 2005-06 season with the Iowa Stars. That season he led the league in assists with six, and ranked fourth in goals-against average with 2.50 and saves with 1,387.
Smith was acquired by Tampa Bay with Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen and a fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from Dallas in exchange for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist on February 26, 2008. He was drafted by the Stars in the fifth round, 161st overall, in 2001.