Smith headed his side into a 28th-minute lead before Rhys Murphy's second-half strike earned the Daggers a share of the spoils on Tuesday night.
It was the battle of the two number nines - Murphy and Smith topping the Sky Bet League Two goalscoring charts with nine and eight goals respectively - but Ardley insists he would not swap his star striker.
"They are two different types of strikers," said Ardley.
"We looked at Rhys in the summer and at the time we were looking for more of an orthodox number nine than one with clever movement.
"But I look at my players and think Michael Smith was phenomenal.
"Once I saw him chase back from the halfway line to put a tackle in on the edge of their box and if your striker puts in the work ethic like that, he could be a very good player if he keeps going.
"Our fans will be partly disappointed that we couldn't beat Dagenham at home, but I think that's where both teams are at the moment.
"They're a decent team and I think in that first 10, 15 minutes they put us a little bit on the back foot with their pace and trickery, their movement.
"Sometimes it's like a boxer; you're feeling someone out for that punch."