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Phoenix Coyotes Sign Sean Burke To Extension, Smith Next?

Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed Sean Burke to a multi-year contract extension to serve as Assistant to the General Manager/Goaltender Coach. In addition to his current responsibilities that include overseeing all goaltenders in the Coyotes system and player development, Burke will now work with Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney, Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving and Director of Hockey Administration Chris O'Hearn in all areas of hockey operations.

The resigning of Burke could entice the Coyotes breakout star of 2011-12, Mike Smith, to sign a contract extension with the team. The Coyotes have attempted to offer Smith an extension, but the goaltender wants the ownership situation settled before he does. Knowing his goaltending coach, and friend, Burke will be with the team for the long haul, could be enough for Smith to sign the dotted line.

"We are very pleased to sign Sean to a contract extension," said Maloney. "For the past three years, Sean has done a tremendous job working with all the goaltenders in our organization helping them improve and succeed on the ice. We look forward to him continuing in this role and also assisting our hockey operations department in all areas of the business."

It is no coincidence that the Coyotes netminders have been stellar since Burke signed on.Under the guidance of Burke, the Coyotes goaltenders have flourished the past three seasons. In 2011-12, Burke helped Coyotes netminder Mike Smith reach career highs in games played (67), wins (38), goals against average (2.21), save percentage (.930) and shutouts (8). Smith ranked fourth in the NHL in wins, tied for third in save percentage, tied for third in shutouts and ranked ninth in GAA. In the post-season, Smith ranked tied for first in shutouts (3), third in save percentage (.944), fourth in wins (9) and seventh in GAA (1.99).

In addition, in 2011-12, Coyotes goaltending prospect Mark Visentin won the Dave Pinkney Trophy for the OHL's lowest GAA (shared with Christopher Festarini). In 2010-11, Visentin was named the OHL's Goaltender of the Year and was selected to the OHL's First All-Star Team. He also won bronze (2012) and silver (2011) medals with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.

In 2010-11, Burke helped Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov become the first Coyotes goaltender to record consecutive 30-plus win seasons (36 and 42) since Nikolai Khabibulin (1996-99). Bryzgalov also became the all-time franchise leader in wins (130) passing Bob Essensa. In addition, Bryzgalov (7) and Jason LaBarbera (2) tied the team franchise record for shutouts in a season (9) set in 1998-99 by Khabibulin (8) and Jimmy Waite (1).

During his first year as the Goaltending Coach in 2009-10, the Coyotes allowed the fewest goals in the Western Conference while goaltenders Ilya Bryzgalov and Jason LaBarbera ranked third in the NHL with a 2.34 goals against average (GAA).

Under Burke's tutelage, Bryzgalov enjoyed a career-year while being named a Second Team NHL All-Star and finishing as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy and was fifth in the voting for the Hart Trophy (League MVP). He also shattered the franchise record for wins in a season (42) and tied the franchise record for shutouts in a single season (8).

With Burke's guidance, LaBarbera also enjoyed a tremendously successful season and finished with a record of 8-5-1 with career-bests in GAA (2.13) and SV% (.928). LaBarbera posted a 6-1 record in shootouts and had a career-long shutout streak of 120:48 from Feb. 5 to Mar. 14, which included parts of three games.

Burke, a former NHL goaltender, spent parts of five seasons with the Coyotes from 1999-2004 during his 18-year career. He appeared in 211 career games with the Coyotes, posting a record of 97-78-29 with a 2.39 GAA, a .919 SV% and 15 shutouts. He helped guide the team to the Stanley Cup playoffs during the 1999-00 and 2001-02 seasons and also represented the Coyotes in the 2001 and 2002 NHL All-Star Games. He is the franchise's career leader in GAA (2.39) and ranks second in SV% (.919), and third in games played (211), wins (97) and shutouts (15).