Organizationally, the hope is that Smith cannot only help the Flames get to the playoffs, but that they can then do some damage once they're there.
The Coyotes managed just 70 points last season and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
In order to swing this deal, the Coyotes agreed to retain 25 percent of Smith's salary.
"I think it's a possibility, just like I think there's a lot of good goaltenders out there and from year to year, the variance is quite high".
The 21-year-old Hickey recorded four goals and 11 assists in 35 games as a junior with Boston University in 2016-17. He has never been a starter for a full season with any team, and the Coyotes will likely look for a younger goaltender to finish the rebuilding process.
He broke into the National Hockey League during the 2006-07 season, playing in 23 games for the Stars.
The 35-year-old netminder is coming off a 2016-2017 campaign with the Arizona Coyotes in which he posted a record of 19-26-9 with a goals against average of 2.92 and a save percentage of 0.914.
"Having somebody that's been a No. 1 and had to deal with all the things that No. 1 guys have to deal with, has had the workload, those were the things that were important to us", Flames GM Brad Treliving said.
He became the full-time starting goalie for the Coyotes during his first year in Arizona and enjoyed the best season of his career.
Thanking Smith for his contributions in Arizona, Coyotes general manager John Chayka called the him "the consummate professional". "When some of our players are reaching their prime years, then he's probably on the wrong side of his career".
In Smith, the Flames get one of the most skilled puck-handling goaltenders in the game, which will add a new dimension to their defensive-zone breakouts. Chayka said he'll consider a variety of options to get a goaltender. "Vegas doesn't need 10".
The Arizona Coyotes have made a couple of notable trades in the past 24 hours, and while the league's trade/waiver freeze is in effect until Thursday, they may not be done dealing over the next few days and weeks.