Smith has had a pretty weird course to the top. He looked awesome in Dallas and was a rising star there, gets traded to Tampa where he is really good before he gets concussed. After the concussion he seems to be off, and that causes him to gradually lose all confidence in himself. I think having Phoenix believe in him, and having Sean Burke help him has been an absolute blessing. He absolutely has all the physical gifts to be one of the best 'tenders in the league.
Smith is one of the best puckhandling goalies in the league...
I really like that about him. I think it's an underestimated aspect of goaltending.
That said, it's true for any position, but especially for goalies: a good season doesn't make a career and history has made most hockey fans very weary of amazing seasons that came out of nowhere (same for Elliott in St-Louis).
The biggest challenge for goalies is to put up great numbers regardless who plays in front of them and who is their coach. If Smith can put up similar numbers for the next few years, he should absolutely be regarded as one of the best, not only because he can goal, but because of his puckhandling abilities.
Cinderella season/run until proven otherwise. He's been a lousy starter/solid back-up to this point in his career...it takes a lot more than one season to enter 'elite' status.
The inconsistency atop goaltending position these days just blows my mind. Marc-Andre Fleury is somehow second amongst active goalies in playoff wins at the ripe old age of 27.
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick