RYAN SMYTH: TIME AND MONEY

Robin Brownlee
May 02 2012 11:25AM

Time and money. Wouldn't all of us like to have more of both? I certainly would, and I'm guessing Ryan Smyth feels the same way. That's why it's far from a slam-dunk Smyth ends up re-signing with the Edmonton Oilers.

In case anybody has forgotten, time and money put an end to Smyth's first go-round with the Oilers. When GM Kevin Lowe didn't offer Smyth and agent Don Meehan enough dough during the 2006-07 season, the sides ran out of time, resulting in Smyth being dealt away to the New York Islanders and a teary farewell at EIA when 11th-hour negotiations fell through.

Five years later, we can debate how, if and where Smyth fits with the Oilers moving forward – Jonathan Willis offered yet another take today – and use all kinds of statistics and scenarios to justify our positions, but my sense is time and money, as it often is in the hockey business, will be the bottom line.

Smyth and Meehan turned down a contract offer from the Oilers before the trade deadline – a deal believed to be two years at $2 million a season – and now time comes into play. We're already into May and GM Steve Tambellini has a lot on his plate that bumps Smyth down the priority list.

TIME

I can understand why Smyth wouldn't jump at a two-year deal in the $2 million range. Fair enough, but, that means he's going to have to wait for another offer, assuming there is one.

Tambellini has a full plate these days. His own contract extension hasn't been made official, yet. He's got a coaching decision to make. Is Tom Renney coming back? If not, then who comes in? That's not exactly a bit of business you take care of in a day or two, as we've seen.

Tambellini's scouting staff is in Palm Springs preparing for the 2012 Entry Draft and kicking around what to do with the team's third consecutive first overall pick. He's going to have a hand in that. Then, he's off to the World Championships. After that, there's preparation for the NHL combine. When that's done, it's off to the draft and later, free agency.

If Smyth feels like he's been put on the back burner after turning down Tambellini's first offer, there's good reason for it. He is on the back burner. Time and timing plays into contract talks with a lot of players, especially third-liners, which Smyth is now.

We're not necessarily re-visiting 2007 and rushed series of phone calls between Meehan and Lowe at the deadline because there is still plenty of time to sit down again, unlike the final hours of his first tour here, but Smyth is going to have to bide his time.

MONEY

Smyth, 36, made $4.5 million in real money and had a cap hit of $6.25 million in 2011-2012 in the final year of his last contract, so he's going to have to take a significant hit in the wallet in any new deal. The question is how much of a hit he's willing to take.

If Smyth and Meehan expect an offer from the Oilers in the range of $3 million a year, they might as well start considering their options elsewhere July 1 because that isn't going to happen in Edmonton. And it shouldn't.

The Smyth fans saw in the first 20 games or so this season made for a feel-good story in his return to the Oilers. He sure looked like he was earning every cent of his salary. The last 60 games? Not so much. If you split the difference, that's my best guess as to what we get moving forward.

If the Oilers decide Smyth is a fit – and there are reasonable arguments to be made on both sides of that debate -- they've got to decide what his role will be and what they'll pay. Smyth, no doubt, has his own numbers, term and dollars, in mind. That, with one offer turned down, will have to wait.

Time and money.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Oilers4ever
May 02 2012, 05:10PM
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Love Smytty's heart and soul and he would be an awesome leader... but if he's holding out for more cash and top 6 line play then forget it. There are easily better forwards with more skill and ability to complete the top 6 and if Ryan cannot see that then don't let the door hit you on the way out of Etown again.. and this time there is no coming back. PERIOD. If he wants to help this team win as he has said in the past then he needs to know his role and that's a third liner with PK time and the odd PP shift for his ability to stand in front of the net and wreak havoc. Other than that, his ability over the last 50 games clearly shows he cannot handle the 82 game grind any longer.

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#52 oldhippy
May 02 2012, 05:11PM
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michael wrote:

Robin. If the new CBA sees a rollback of 20%. Smyth signing at 2.5 would then translate into a 2 million dollar contract.Stupid math.

Here is why the Oilers wait and see. And here is why the other 29 GM's are not going to pay 3 million for Ryan this summer. The CBA. If the new agreement is such that the cap is set at 55 million then that puts alot of pressure on GM's to ensure that they fill thier 3rd and 4 th lines with players in the 1.5 to 900,000 range. Thats what I see as the starting point for Smyth. If you sign him in the 1.5-1.8 range that would make sense. Even with amnesty clauses and such the reality is that teams will be scrambling to trim payroll to meet the cap.

If Smyth can find someone to pay him 3 million dollars this summer all the power to him.

Time and money are on the Oilers side.

If the cap is renegotiated to 50% of revenue's, I doubt they will roll back the $64m figure. They will likely put a percentage of salaries in escrow, and give it back to the players if 50% equals $64m, like they did after the lock-out. I suspect G.M.'s are negotiating with the present figure in mind. If revenue translates to a lower cap, then money will be held back to cover the difference. So $2.5m is $2.5m

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#54 Oilcan
May 02 2012, 06:12PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

@ Vaclav

Steve already let the rooster back into the hen house. It's a little late to try and play boss and possibly embarass the organization again. The time to say no to Ryan Smyth was last summer. You can't say no to 94 now that you chose to bring him back and allow him to finish his career here. Tambellini throws nearly 10 million dollars out the window on Souray and Quinn, and now it's time to pinch pennies on Ryan Smyth? 5-6 over 2 yrs is much closer to what he wants, for optics sake they need to put this issue to bed. They're thin on the left side anyways.

It cost them a guy they didn't want and a 7th, in reality they probably would have given a team a 7th to take Fraser with no return, they got Smyth and it was a good trade and still is even if he leaves.

You CAN'T reference Sourays buyout and Quinns contract to Smyth because Quinn doesn't effect the cap or roster.

ALot of fans have posted on here saying they gave Belanger this, Khabi that, Souray to not play, but in reality that doesn't matter because that is stupid management if you judge it by that.

Gomez got overpaid in Montreal and can't be dumped so does that mean every guy in Montreal should get signed for more then him?

Smyth was offered a contract and he didn't take it, thats fine he is a UFA its his call, I am happy Tambellini has finally figured out contracts.

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#55 Slats
May 02 2012, 06:42PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Is Smyth an "awesome" leader?

Reuben c'mon - not an awesome leader? Ask the zamboni guys if they still have his chic-lets from 2006. The guy has grit, heart and a pretty good role model on what to be like in the community.

The thread has many comments on $ but maybe what Smytty wants is term. Maybe he wants $1.5 - $2MM for 3 yrs so he can be in an Oilers uni for one more playoff run. I think Smtty has plenty of cash and the guy isn't wired to grind out for a couple hundred more/ year.

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#56 6 ring circus
May 02 2012, 06:43PM
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If there are issues with Smyth in the locker room and his team mates, then Tambellini should just pull the offer.Smyth can go play in Calgary, I am sure Jay Feaster will be happy to sign him to a 5year 20 million dollar contract.Smyth has basically backed himself into a corner, by requesting to come back to Edmonton and by building his dream home here, he has no bargaining power with the Oilers.

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#58 Slats
May 02 2012, 07:05PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

"I think Smtty has plenty of cash and the guy isn't wired to grind out for a couple hundred more/ year . . ."

Isn't that exactly what happened in 2007?

Yes and he got his contract and asked to come back. Do you think now he's in the driver seat now to get a sweetheart contract? Not likely. He loves being an Oiler and wants to do it for as long as he can. He wants term.

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#59 Gorski
May 02 2012, 07:27PM
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I have been reading these blogs for a couple years and this is my first post, tired of people wanting to back up over a great hockey player as the orginization threw him under the bus once already. Come on guys. What did you actually expect when we got smitty back? a 80 point season? 46 points and a -5 on basicly last place team is a reasonable number for smyth, every sucessful team out there has some vets, most which dont but out near the points or effort smyth has day in and day out. Im not saying sign him for 5 mill a season (ahem injury prone hemmer) but give him something respectable, keep some of the team identity alive. Give the head a shake!

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#60 steelymac
May 02 2012, 07:40PM
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When Smyth came into this leauge the average player did not make 2 million a year.Time to climb off that high horse Ryan.You can Raise your kids in a city where there father is a HERO.How much more do you think you deserve?Remember Ryan you wanted to come back?This guy who I have loved and admired better get his head out of his ass.

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#61 Big Show
May 02 2012, 08:04PM
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Mr.Bronti

The fact that Smyth has turned down the 2 year deal is a huge overstatement of his value of both himself and his self importance to the hockey club. With the Oilers so heavily laiden with talent on the left side...Hall, Yakupov(if there smart), Hartinakenen, and possible Curtis Hamilton, and the list goes on. I believe that there is enough veteren talent on the hockey club to do without Mr. Smyth. Its a bunch of to little to late for this guy

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#63 Oilcan
May 02 2012, 09:23PM
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Gorski wrote:

I have been reading these blogs for a couple years and this is my first post, tired of people wanting to back up over a great hockey player as the orginization threw him under the bus once already. Come on guys. What did you actually expect when we got smitty back? a 80 point season? 46 points and a -5 on basicly last place team is a reasonable number for smyth, every sucessful team out there has some vets, most which dont but out near the points or effort smyth has day in and day out. Im not saying sign him for 5 mill a season (ahem injury prone hemmer) but give him something respectable, keep some of the team identity alive. Give the head a shake!

No one is complaining about his production if he puts another season like that together I think everyone would be happy, but every person with eyes can see Smyth has lost a step and can't play with Hall, RNH, Ebs, Hemsky, Gagner anymore. So that leaves him on the 3rd line. Where he should make about 2 mill or 2.5 if its just one year.

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#64 Reg Dunlop
May 02 2012, 10:57PM
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The oil have committed to a top 6 devoid of gristle. That necessary toughness has to come from somewhere ie the bottom 6 . Ryan is no longer a top 6 player on this team. He does not bring any truculence to the bottom 6. Its time to part company for good.

The oil are rebuilding are they not? Why have a 36 year old tying up a roster spot in a situation where his skill set doesn't match what is needed? There must be hundreds of players around that are not good enough but would try hard and for much less $$. Besides, Mr. Gorski, why keep a bottom feeder team identity alive. Grip your toque firmly and spin.

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#65 Ed in Mada
May 03 2012, 03:31AM
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Gorski

You don't think 2 million a year for 2 years for a 36 year old 3rd line winger isn't respectable? I would be surprised if he finds anything better.

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#66 Reagan
May 03 2012, 07:40AM
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All warm and fuzzy feelings aside, does Ryan Smith really warrant or command that much cash? His performance after the first twenty really went for a slide into the deep end. I can see why Tambo doesn't want to pay him an oversized amount. Sorry Ryan then honeymoon was over in November.

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#67 j
May 03 2012, 08:36AM
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You can't compare the average joe to a professional athlete in terms of salary expectations. In the real world, most of us expect to make a reasonable wage amongst our peers and see that wage increase annually for most of our career. In most cases, the increase is marginal and the graph is a straight line till retirement. For pros, they expect their earnings to be a bell curve. Smitty knows this. He is well past his bell curve max and should be happy with a reasonable offer - like $2M x 2. That is a good offer when looking at the roster potential and the league as a whole.

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#68 madjam
May 03 2012, 08:55AM
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Smyth gets a 3 year extention at 3M for first two , and 2M for third year . He's worth more than a Holmstrom to begin with and can play all lines in case of injuries , etc.. He's also an asset on power play and penalty kill- even at a reduced rate ! Don't like that contract , then give him 4M first year and 2M each additional without a no trade contract if possible . I don't see a better reliable option even at the price i believe he's worth . 2M just to low for a caliber player such as Smyth .

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#69 gcw_rocks
May 03 2012, 09:09AM
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I can forgive if the Oilers pay a little more on a 1 year contract, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should the Oilers sign this guy to a multi-year over 35 contract. That is just plain stupid.

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#72 DieHard
May 03 2012, 12:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

One-year makes sense for Smyth, too. CBA allows bonuses for players his age on one-year deals. He could sign for $2 million salary and bonuses to top it up.

Robin, The bonuses you speak of. Are they whatever Smyth and the Oilers come up with or are they somewhat controlled by the league. Are there set items like number of games played, goals scored and/or assisted on?

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#73 madjam
May 03 2012, 01:17PM
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Robin - Who else can you find at my price that will bring more than Smyth, that is or will becoming available ? Certainly no one in current system even close. Three year 8 M contract is reasonable considering what Hemsky got for two . I don't see much else out there that can bring as much as he does even at my price . He'll get it even if it's not with us .

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#74 Thunderball
May 03 2012, 03:45PM
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I think there have been enough subtle comments by certain media guys that know what is going on in the dressing room to suggest that the average fan may be well advised to take a second to consider whether Smytty actually is a good leader and is good in the dressing room.

My calendar says 2012, not 2006 and this is a different team and different room.

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#75 nunyour
May 06 2012, 01:36PM
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Smyth is a third liner on a 29 place team ,lets move on thanks for coming,give me someone that plays nasty.eg.jordan totoo

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