Are you kidding me?
You must be kidding me.
I hate hockey rumours for the single reason that most of them are like loud wet farts. Interesting at first, yet worthless in about two seconds. It’s cute to think that you might be able to flip the number one overall pick in the 2011 draft and a fourth line player to a team that has the third pick overall and a character player plus some floral scented candles, but around 99% of the time, it’s just a fat rumour.
However, when Bob McKenzie says something, it’s a little different. McKenzie is a straight shooter, someone I’d trust holding onto my wallet on payday. He’s been wrong before, but he’s honest about it and doesn’t try to cover it up if he slips up. He’s got integrity, and he’s pretty good at what he does. If McKenzie says something might happen, I’ll give it more than a glance.
Bob McKenzie says Ryan Smyth wants to be traded back to the Edmonton Oilers?
Has Ryan Smyth seen the team since he left?
Alright, let’s back the train up for a little bit.
Ryan Smyth got out of dodge in February of 2007 in a trade that was for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O’Marra and NY’s first pick in 2007 (Alex Plante). In getting Smyth to the Islanders (who were a playoff team that season) the trade was largely to salvage something that would eventually turn into nothing. The Oilers and Smyth had come to an impasse in contract talks, and the Oilers traded heart, soul, grit, and most of the glue they had to Long Island.
The team hasn’t been the same since Captain Canada was in town. Now, it’d be foolish to say that Ryan Smyth is the sole reason that the Oilers have fallen from grace…but it’s definitely a significant piece of the puzzle. Since the Stanley Cup appearance, it’s been two last place finishes, a near miss to the playoffs, and two onion sandwiches. It hasn’t been the merriest of sleigh rides. Smyth signed a 31 million dollar contract over five years, and the Oilers took the gas pipe.
Bring your Delorian back to present day. The Oilers are drafting number one overall for a second consecutive season. The Youth are all a year older. We’re a couple of days away from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. And now, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Captain Canada wants back in.
Normally if I heard that, I assume I’d be hammered in a room full of Oiler sweaters coming up with wild ideas in order to save the franchise from the evil Devin Dark. But no, it didn’t come from some guy in a #32 Miro Satan Oiler sweater. It came from Bob McKenzie, a guy who if he was selling ketchup popsicles and I was wearing white gloves, I’d probably buy two if it was hot out.
In case you’re still coming down, apparently Ryan Smyth wants to rejoin the Oilers. I’m not going to ask why. I’m assuming it’s because he’d likely enjoy ending his career on the team that drafted him seventeen years ago. And, if that’s the reason, it’s a heartwarming next chapter. It’s late, and I’m not going to even explore other reasons why, so let’s go with that one.
IS THIS A PRACTICAL THING TO DO?
Yes. Oh, for Christ’s sake, yes.
This team has been bad for some time now. I don’t think we’re at ’91 Nordiques bad, or ’94 Senators bad yet, but the fan base has been patient, and patience is starting to ween a little thin. If this team wanted to buy themselves a little breathing room in fan appeasement, bringing back Ryan Smyth (for a responsible deal) would be the most wildly popular thing this franchise has done since before February of 2007.
I’m not about to stand up on this keyboard and pretend for one minute what it would take to get Ryan Smyth out of his last year in Los Angeles. This wouldn’t be one of those ‘one day contracts’ where Smyth would sign a contract and retire an Oiler. The guy still has some petrol in the tank. 23-24-47 in 82 games last year might not be a PPG, but it’s nothing to slouch at. Matter of fact, it would’ve led the ’10-’11 Oilers. Would the Oilers be willing to take on Smyth’s contract of $4.5M (and a 6.25M cap hit to boot)? If the asking price is right, then let’s make this deal happen.
Who knows? Maybe Smyth has more than one year left in the engine and finds another avenue to cross. At the very least, he’d be an excellent mentor in the dressing room, and he’d immediately put pucks in the net and points on the board.
Let me make myself clear once more: If what Bob McKenzie is saying is true, then HE WANTS TO COME TO EDMONTON. The team lost 99% of its heart and soul when Smyth was dealt to Long Island over four years ago.
If Ryan Smyth wants to play in Edmonton, I can see no reason (cause there are no reasons) why a reasonable deal can’t be worked out that would satisfy both sides.
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