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After 19 seasons, Ryan Smyth calls it a career

Apr 11, 2014, 6:22 PM EDT

One of the most beloved Oilers of all time is stepping away.

Ryan Smyth, who played the second-most games (970) in Edmonton franchise history, announced his retirement on Friday to an outpouring of emotion and admiration from his peers and former coaches.

“We would like to thank Ryan for being a great Oiler,” said general manager Craig MacTavish, per CBC. “Ryan and his family are ambassadors for both the Oilers and the city of Edmonton and we cannot thank them enough for their dedication. Ryan truly exemplifies what it means to be an Oiler and I am extremely proud to have had him as a key part of our hockey club for so many years.”

MacTavish wasn’t the only member of the Oilers’ organization to heap praise on Smyth.

Taken sixth overall by Edmonton at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Smyth spent the first 12 years of his career in Edmonton and emerged as the face of the franchise, scoring 16 points in 24 games en route to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. He also provided an unforgettable moment in 2007, breaking down in tears upon being traded to the Islanders after failing to reach a new contract agreement in Edmonton:

Smyth returned to Edmonton via trade from Los Angeles in 2011, and would go on to tie Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson for the most power-play goals in franchise history.

“I have been truly blessed to play this game for as long as I have and will cherish the memories forever,” Smyth said. “After some difficult discussions over the past week, I felt it was best to make this decision and move on with life after hockey and enjoy every minute I have with my family.”

  1. lowenni - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Class act guy, with a face that certainly shows all the abuse he took over his career. You could always find this guy parked in front of the net, like a Tomas Holstrom but without as much attention or praise. He had some really great years in the late 90′s and early 2000′s, and I know Oilers fans and all hockey fans in general will remember him warmly. He’s a hockey player in the truest sense.

    • lowenni - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Also, this should be a top story on here, the guy scored nearly 900 points and had a very long career.

  2. 950003cups - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Screw Ryan Smythe.

    Brodeur starting tonight. Someone get on it!!!

    • ron05342 - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      If you are going to dis someone, you might want to ensure you spell his name correctly.

  3. ron05342 - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    I will always remember this guy forcing a trade from the Kings after telling Kings fans that he wanted to be part of a team that won it all, and that he was committed to making it happen. How ironic that the Kings won the Cup that year without his presence? And that he never won one?

    • shortsxit34 - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Class act, but I wasn’t a fan of this move. Smyth came to LA to be that veteran presence that a young Kings team needed. He knew the Kings were an up and coming team and believed that with some mentoring, he could help the Kings break through to becoming legit contenders.

      When he made it public that he wanted to go back to Edmonton, he lost some trade value, which was pretty unfair to the Kings. And it was a bit odd, especially after he made a big deal about being committed to LA and winning. He knew that his career was winding down and that this was probably his last chance to win a Cup.

      I wonder if he had stayed with the Kings and won the Cup if he would have retired in 2012.

  4. lj312chicago - Apr 11, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Ryan smith was good tv for a long time.

  5. 0ffsides - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Nothing but respect with how he played the game. As a Wings fan I always wished he ended up with the club, he had a knack for the net and played both ways 100%. Enjoy your retirement!

  6. mildfan - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    The definition of a hockey player is Ryan Smyth! On the ice a joy to watch and I am sure a joy to be around off the ice. Who do want your kid to be? You want your kid to be like Ryan Smyth!!!!

  7. gertrudegoat - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    I can’t put too much blame on any player not wanting to be a NY Islander, but he could have turned around a franchise that was willing to do anything to make him happy. Instead, he moved on and eventually bailed out on the Kings as well. Good riddance!

  8. whammy71 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    I just remember this clown crying like a baby cause he got traded from EDM….when the sides actually weren’t that far off. The dude was set to make millions and play in EDM….but his greed or the greed of his agent forced a trade.

    • c9castine - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      greed? clearly never ever watched the guy play a minute of hockey. theres more to life than pleasing others. for all you know the sticking point in negotiations was term, or a NTC.

      anyway, i loved watching this guy play.. ever since i saw him in the finals with edmonton he was a beast, just all grit and heart and a little skill to go with it. literally willed himself to 19 season and 900 point.

      hes one of those guys that shouldnt make the hall of fame despite an excellent career, but you want to put anywhere because he just seems to embody hockey.

      congrats, goodbye.

      • c9castine - Apr 11, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        put him there anyway*

        sometimes i dont know how things come out of my keyboard so messed up.

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