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UFA spotlight — Ryan Smyth

Jun 27, 2012, 4:34 PM EDT

ryan smyth oilers

All week leading up to July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.

Ryan Smyth (LW)

Age: 36

2011-12 cap hit: $6.25 million

The skinny:

Smyth is one of this summer’s most intriguing cases. After forcing a deal to Edmonton last summer, he famously stated “I bleed Oiler blue” — suggesting he was primed to finish his career in Oil Country.

Now he’s just days away from hitting the open market.

Compounding the matter is Smyth’s lack of leverage. Everybody knows Edmonton is where he wants to be and he’s on the downside of his career — 46 points in 2011-12 was his lowest total in four years.

It’s also hard to see how he’d fit on an Oilers team featuring Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Alex Hemsky up front.

Well, it’s actually easy to see the fit. It’s on the third line.

And that brings up the question of money.

What would Edmonton pay a 36-year-old third liner? Many have pointed Milan Hedjuk’s deal with Colorado (one year, $2 million) as a comparable, which would be great for the Oilers but less so for Smyth, given it’s a pay cut of over $4 million.

Of course, Edmonton knows Symth wants to stay.

In the end, stubbornness may prevail. Smyth can probably find suitors — Detroit could use his net-front presence if Tomas Holmstrom retires, Rangers GM Glen Sather has always been a fan — or the Oilers could just walk away and accept the public relations backlash.

More UFA spotlights

Ryan Suter

Zach Parise

Jason Garrison

Jiri Hudler

Justin Schultz

Shane Doan

Alexander Semin

  1. ron05342 - Jun 27, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    What public relations backlash would they suffer?

    The guy forces the trade from the Kings for “family reasons.” And exactly one year later, he wants to move again? How does that translate to a public relations backlash for Edmonton?

    Seems to me that Smyth should be getting any backlash, since he basically put the Kings in a very bad position, then graciously accommodated him, and now look what he is doing in Edmonton.

    The guy is real tool.

    • Mike Halford - Jun 27, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      You remember when the Oilers traded Smyth in 2007? Fans were livid. Edmontonians love him.

      • ron05342 - Jun 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        But at that time, he had been on the team for 14 straight years.

        Fast forward to 2011, and he’d been away for 4 years. Now after only one year back and saying he wanted to finish his career in Edmonton, he is going free agency.

        I just don’t see where this is the same situation for the Oilers as it was in 2007.

  2. charleslouis99 - Jun 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    you kings fans are dumb does it say anywhere in this article that he says he wants to move no
    its just pure speculation based on the fact that Edmonton is stacked offensively and I doubt he wants to move unless he told you otherwise

  3. ray2013 - Jun 27, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    He wants to be in Edmonton, unlike many UFAs. He has been heavily involved in the local community. You never have to question his compete level. Seems like a solid veteran every team wants to have.

    The Oilers have a funny approach when it comes to contracts. Certain players seem to get whatever they want (ex. Hemsky) and other players get the hardball treatment. It doesn’t really make sense to me. They should offer him a fair contract, and move on with it. Either he accepts a deal or he moves on and you free up a roster spot for a younger player.

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