Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth has plenty of playoff experience and plays a gritty style of hockey that’s perfectly suited for the post-season. So it is no surprise that, as ESPN’s Scott Burnside suggests, there could be as many as a dozen teams interested in acquiring Smyth before the February 27 trade deadline.
However, as John MacKinnon of Edmonton Journal points out, Smyth has a no-movement clause in his contract so he would control if, and where, a move out of Edmonton would occur.
Though he didn’t sound too interested in playing elsewhere, the veteran winger told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN Monday night, before the Oilers’ game against The Toronto Maple Leafs, that he’s not sure how things will turn out. Nor has management talked to him about letting them trade him. In fact, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini told LeBrun the same night that he’s not actively shopping Smyth.
Obviously, it’s very flattering from that front, but I haven’t been approached at all, and this [Edmonton] is where I wanted to come back to. Time will tell, but I’m enjoying myself with the Oilers.
One thing is for sure. The 35-year-old would be much sought after if he were available.
The Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and San Jose Sharks have already contacted the Oilers about Smyth, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
A report by Larry Brooks of the New York Post late last week claimed that Smyth would give “serious consideration” to reuniting with Rangers general manager Glen Sather, the man who drafted him in Edmonton. Brooks claimed that Sather wants to add Smyth to bolster the Rangers’ offense and net presence on the power play.
Asked by Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun if he was aware of Brooks’ report, Smyth appeared to be unaware of what was written.
First I’ve heard of it. Who’s Larry Brooks? I’ve moved four times in the last five years. I wanted to come back here for a reason?
And that is the salient point. Why would he leave the place he asked to be traded to just this past summer? Doesn’t make much sense. Asked whether he would consider a move out of town, Smyth said it hasn’t crossed his mind.
I haven’t even really thought about it to be honest. They would have to approach me first and nobody’s approached me. It’s not something that I’ve thought much about.
Smyth, an unrestricted free agent come July 1st, could accept a trade to a contender for the remainder of the season and then re-sign with the Oilers in the summer. As SportsNet’s HockeyCentral Trade Tracker panel suggested (see video above) it would be a great way to help the Oilers acquire an asset. The former New York Islander, Colorado Avalanche, and Los Angeles King told MacKinnon that he can’t rule that out completely.
There’s no guarantees in life, is there? No one has mentioned anything to me. Obviously, I’ve heard speculation, but I’ve never really been approached.
However, that remains an unlikely possibility considering Smyth’s desire to remain in Edmonton and finish his career as an Oiler.
Obviously that would be the ultimate for sure, to re-sign with these guys, no question.
And as the SportsNet panel mentioned, the Oilers are thrilled with having Smyth tutor their young players because of his positive influence on them.
Smyth staying with the Oilers also means that, us fans, won’t have to be subjected tear-filled farewells.