Captain Canada. Mr. Oiler. Ryan freaking Smyth. Does he want to go? Can we endure one more airport moment? Is there a market? Oh my. This again.

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smyth moose jaw

He’s a part of us, just like Groat Road or the Wee Book Inn or Wanye or potholes are a part of us. Ryan Smyth is the kid who wanted so badly to be an Oiler and had his dream come true. His tearful exit years ago is a distant bell, but if there’s a market—and he’s willing—will we repeat the ordeal?

Oiler fans may not have a choice.


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smyth es

Probably. Smyth is playing a depth role but has delivered offense in that role, and his possession numbers are well clear of most other Oilers. Smyth is having a good season



corsi rel oil f mar 2

This graph compares Smyth to his own teammates (Corsi Rel) in terms of shot differential. It shows us that he’s playing tougher opposition and his zone starts are severe. This is the uphill battle area of the graph — Smyth, Gordon, Hemsky and Perron are facing tough opps AND starting in their own zone a lot. Smyth’s bubble color is rich blue, telling us he’s doing an exceptional job compared to his teammates.

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He’s not perfect. Smyth’s 5×5 offense is well down the list, but then again those zone starts and quality of competition impact those numbers in a big way.

Smyth is playing 15:30 a game in Edmonton, getting EV, PP and PK time every game. A contending team wouldn’t necessarily need to use him as much, and Smyth might be a more effective player.


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These old guys may need a little extra TLC, but come in handy at playoff time. For an NHL team looking for an inexpensive veteran, Ryan Smyth looks like a viable option.

Just don’t ask me to drive him to the airport. Or wave goodbye again.

  • Zarny

    There is certainly a market for Smyth. He is this year’s Brendan Morrow. Well past his prime but experienced, battle tested and versatile. Exactly the type of depth and injury insurance contenders are looking for. It’s not a blockbuster deal and I wouldn’t expect any tears from Smyth.

  • Zarny

    Ryan Smyth might get traded to Blues or Blackhawks I’m guessing. But honestly I don’t care, I don’t think anyone cares because we want the Oilers in the playoffs and our team might be the exact same next year which means another year of losing. MacT said he wants the draft picks back which means that we aren’t getting players that we NEED from what we’re trading away. I doubt anyone would want to sign here except for rookies because our team sucks and most players want to be on a contending team.

    • D-Unit

      Deadline deals don’t return a lot of useful players, especially players the Oil NEED. What kind of team is going to trade useful pieces for bit part players that hopefully help on a playoff run?
      For Smyth a draft pick is all that can be expected at this stage of his career. Asset management hopefully gets a draft pick for an expiring contract. Hemsky was available all summer, and with a year left on his contract MacT couldn’t get useful pieces.
      For the Oilers to get needed players, something serious needs to be dealt, not aging players on deals expiring to UFA status.

  • **

    The Oilers have a grim, grim future ahead. Let’s say Yak, Hall, Ebs and Nuge turn allright. LEt’s say Justin SChultz figures it out. Let’s say Scrivens is the real deal and Mac. T. keeps him. Gordon, PErron, Ference and Hendricks (and GAzdick at his particular job description) are game.

    Let’s even say Eakins figures it out too.

    The Oilers still need the 2C that can play at both ends, the power winger, at least 2 more useful top 9 wingers who can score and check. A good back up goalie, and the most important, d men 1, 2 and 3. The Oilers don’t have anything to trade for those guys without subtracting where it hurts. They are unable to attract top free agents. They have sucked at drafting top prospects outside the first overall pick.

    IF they only started to get it right last summer, we’re looking at at least 3 years before they can ice a competitive team.

    This is not me being negative, this is not me pouncing on management, this is me just stringing some facts together.

      • Zarny

        The first two, maybe, in a few years and under PROPER coaching!

        Hall to MESSIER? Not in a million years!

        I knew Mark up-close and personal for many years in his Edmonton days. The fire and desire and compete of that man can not be duplicated by Hall at any level. No disrespect meant to the kid but he does not have that deep from within fire and he has too much of a sense of an entitlement.

        Mark was a MAN very early in his hockey career, a take-charge, go-all-out-against-anyone-anytime-anywhere kind of guy. Even in his own team’s dressing room. He instilled fear and respect.

        Any of those qualities in Hall? If they exist, I missed them on every turn (and shift of his) in the last 4 seasons…

    • Quicksilver ballet

      There’s how they’re distributing the money issue as well. With overpays rampant throughout their best 8-10 players (if this ever happens) there’ll be so little left to obtain any required depth players.

      Unless there’s some sort of (15%) Northern (B market) living allowance available to them, they may never be competitive again. Or, the Oilers could revolutionize the game and go with 3 lines and 3 sets of D (totally eliminate the 4th line) in hopes of cutting costs~

    • dougtheslug

      Unfortunately the future is far grimmer than you paint it above. Your assumptions of the players you mention working out may be impossible. You see these young stars who grew up in an environment of winning have been engrained far too long in an Oiler culture of losing that will take many many years to overcome. In case you haven’t noticed many of them have already given up on the Oilers and crave a change of scenery so this affects performance and ultimately winning. Also Oiler management does not have the skill set to pull off the major trade and does not recognize that you need to give up quality to attain quality! What further complicates things is that Oiler management has overpaid the young stars at an early stage of development creating expectations from others (Justin Schultz) that they deserve the same value contract.

      As all Oiler fans are aware ownership has stopped listening to the fan base. Oiler fans will continue to be frustrated and they certainly deserve better!

      • D-Unit

        Agree with what you say. I just hope that MacT doesn’t over pay or term J. Schultz. Bridge contract is the way to go with him, and hope he can get across the bridge. I am not sure he can. Same with Yak if he is still around.

  • Serious Gord

    It’s about the next prospects…the defensemen. I say that because team Canada showed what it took to go all the way…team defense. And the last time we went far we had Pronger. So let’s just chill and wait for Nurse/Klefbom/Marincin…and maybe Ekblad? Hopefully we still have Nuge by then.

  • Serious Gord

    I think the decision should be up to Smyth. If he wants to go take one last shot at the cup, then best of luck to us. If he wants to go down with the ship, then I hope he announces that he will retire at season’s end so we can send him off with one last tearful hurrah. It’s really sad that they twilight of his career is being wasted on such a circus squad.

  • Alsker

    62 hours left until we begin the debate on who we get(trade) for with the picks we acquired by moving our UFAs or the ranting for why the f*ck didnt MacT do anything. Im not sure which it will be, I just hope we’re not asking why he moved guys off of OKC for picks!!!!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I think I’m finally ready to admit the rebuild has failed. Spectacularly, at that. The guy above is right: defense comes first. Draft Ekblad, wait for him and Nurse to develop, hopefully Marincin is the real deal and Klefbom can find the next gear. Try to keep J Schultz. Only problem is, Nuge and Hall will probably be approaching UFA by that point. Beg Nuge to sign an extension, try to convince Hall (I can’t see it happening).

    Unless Bold Moves pulls some unspeakable deals out of his ass this off season, we’ll probably have a great shot at drafting McDavid next year. And it’s pretty sad with how much certainty I say that.

    Infinibuild 2.0™ will be McDavid and Nuge as our 1C/2C, with Ekblad and Nurse as our 1st D-line. Of course, this is all five or so years down the road, so buckle up.

    Also, tell me I didn’t just see Jagr’s O-face…

    • Alsker

      Unfortunately you’re right on all points. Dont forget, the guys that f*cked up rebuild 1.0 are still the ones making the decisions on rebuild 2.0. I think you’re right on your timeline of 5 years, just hope they(mgt) have the patience for it and dont panic causing rebuild 3.0(I”m too old for a 15 year rebuild)

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Tambellini is the reason this rebuild has taken so long. Worst GM in NHL history… I’m serious statistically the worst ever.

    MacT has been extremely active, and he will be judged IMO on the Gagner trade and how he spends the oilers 40+mil in cap space this offseason.

    Interesting when you look at some of the guys who show heart and character each game are the ones Mact brought in :

    Perron, Hendricks, Gordan, Gazdic, Scrivens

    • Zarny

      So when’s the domination coming, sometime this century?

      What a stupid intro comment. I guess these are the types referred to as ‘Life long Oiler fans’.

    • Serious Gord

      Silly to claim tambo was the worst ever. Dozens were. Just of the top of my head I will give just one who really is in the running for worst ever:

      Mike milbury.

      As for MacT he has made zero 1-2 line moves. Just Pygmy trades. Should moved gagner. Should have moved hemsky or bought him out. He chronically overvalued his assets and thus is on the sidelines when the big fish are in play.

        • Serious Gord

          None of the players traded by MacT were. 1-2 line. That is true

          On the teams they came from none of the players were 1-2 or starting in net. That also is true.

          That some of those players are 1-2 or starting on the oil is testament to how sub-par the oil roster is. That also is true.

      • nuge2drai

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Lol silly to claim hey…

        3 first overall picks in 4 years…

        I don’t know how anyone could possibly be worse…

        Has any team in history ever won 4 first overall picks in a row..

        • Serious Gord

          Go look up milbury’s trade and signing record and get back to me. Tambo didn’t help things to be sure but Milbury made some absolutely devastating moves.

      • NsxZero

        I still don’t know why you would want the Oilers to buy Hemsky out. We’re not in a state of being strapped for salary room and come this deadline we might be getting a mid pick for him rather than buying him out and having another team sign him for free.

        Having him traded is an argument but I have no idea why you would want him bought out.

        • Serious Gord

          I am referring to last year. And actually I have been calling for a trade since RNH was added to the roster. The extra cap room this last summer and season could have been used to sweeten some trade deals or other acquisitions.

  • I would equate being traded from this team to being released from prison. Thus any tears shed by the old warrior will be of joy.

    He has put in an admirable shift pulling the old stone boat, and is one of few who can lay his head down at night and make a case for earning his wages.

    as for some of his co workers. thief comes to mind.

  • pkam

    The Oilers are truly screwed. KLoser let the worst GM in team history screw up the team for five years, and after he finally fires him, hires a rookie GM. MacT will eventually learn the ropes, but how long will this take? And why would KLowe hire a rookie GM, who will need to learn on the job, when he has a fed-up fanbase who want to see results from a wavering rebuild? Do KLowe and Katz even think about this stuff?

    Then the rookie GM makes his first mistake, which he will never admit, by hiring a rookie coach. What a sh*tshow, and many of these mistakes could have been avoided with some simple foresight.

    Add to this the fact the Oilers scouting department and player development is arguably the worst in the league. This is a recipe for finishing in lottery position year after year after year.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, your Edmonton Oilers.

  • NsxZero

    Send Smyth off to a contender and hopefully he’ll win a cup before he retires. Maybe he’ll bring it back to Edmonton, it’ll be the closest that we’ll get to the cup for a long while…

  • dougtheslug

    Isn’t it demoralizing that the Oilers are a lottery team and come to the 2014 draft with a first and fourth round pick and nothing else, and no forward prospects in OKC other than Lander, Arcobello, and Pitlick, whereas a team like Anaheim is a cup contender, has 2 firsts and 2 seconds in the 2014 draft and a boatload of decent prospects in Norfolk in the AHL. You can blame Tambo for some of this mess but MacT has been happily trading away picks as well, and MBS has not exactly been impressing with his picks of late. This organization is so amateurish it makes you want to cry.

  • NsxZero

    The way I remember the Smyth trade going down(I even remember where I was when I heard the news)It was Don Meenhan re-assuring Smyth that the Oilers would pay his demands and he was not to worry.
    Kevin Lowe had put a time deadline on it getting done because he had one from the Islanders, Ryan Smyth’s tears and sadness was real, this was a case of the agent screwing up.
    Kevin Lowe made a lot of bad decisions but I never felt this was one of them, if I recall correctly they were $200k/year apart.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    So we have 1 goalie signed, not necessarily a starter.
    Does MacT try to get a guy like Hiller, and use Scrivens as a backup? Or will he get a vet goalie like Halak to split the time?

    • pkam

      You don’t sign a 27 year old at 2.3M a year to be your backup. We have to find out whether Scrivens is the man by the end of this 2 year bridge contract, and we won’t be able to by playing him 25-30 games a season.

      • Randaman

        Exactly! Who says Scrivens can’t be a starter? TSN analysts, armchair GM’s, etc?. Who knew Osgood would be a starter? There is not only one way to become a starter in this league.

      • pkam

        I know Scrivens has played well, but I wouldn’t be comfortable declaring him our starter next year without a legitimate backup plan. Maybe not Hiller per se, but a vet who’s capable of playing a lot of minutes if Scrivens faulters. (Halak, Elliot, etc.)

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    MacT has done a great job in his first 5 months of taking over.

    Not perfect, not amazing … But great.

    Scrivens signing is another example of that.

    1. Perron Trade

    2. Horcoff Trade

    3. Dubnyk Trade

    4. Scrivens Trade

  • Johnnydapunk

    Dubnyk placed on waivers today, I would be curious to know who would sign/resign him in the off season?

    Have a feeling it’s the end of the NHL highway for him.

  • NsxZero

    Agreed, Rod from Viking.

    It’s always – always – been my belief that the Smyth Trade in 2007 was Don Meehan’s fault. If what we were told at the time was true, the Oilers and Smyth were somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 apart on a deal. That’s not a big gap … certainly not one that would have prompted either side to walk away.

    The thing that always – always – floors me about that day was the complete lack of follow-up on that point. I don’t recall anyone talking to Don Meehan about what happened or attempting to piece together the chain of events from that day. I do remember the trade was reported fairly late upon the deadline – and, I think, it actually did happen quite late.

    But no one in Edmonton who reports on the Oilers ever seemed very interested in finding out how, after several months of negotiations, things were allowed to linger on to the 11th hour like they did. We can all(reflexively) blame K-Lowe for that but I’ve always believed the players always hold the right-of-last-refusal in any contract negotiation. They’re the ones who make the decision to stay or go, based on what their agent does for them … and tells them. And, in the case of Smyth in 2007, I don’t think Meehan did a very good job advising his client.

    Put this this way: If six months of hardball negotiations come down to a $100,000 gap that results in your client bawling all the way through the airport of a city and team he never wanted to leave, you screwed up as an agent.

    • pkam

      Agree completely, hearing Meehan talk on “Oilers Now” the last couple of years he seems to go out of his way to say what a great place Edmonton is, a little remorse maybe?

    • pkam

      I believe he was on IR before. I bet he is getting healthy now so we need to send one player to OKC.

      Seems like MacT chooses to keep Marincin over him to stay.

  • Bucknuck

    For the itty bitty return the Oil would get, i think that the franchise should show some respect and ask Ryan Smyth what he would like, and then honour that. Yeah, it’s a business, but it’s a PEOPLE business.

    They talk about having pride for the uniform, but sometimes the pride is from the men who wear the uniform. As an Oiler fan I am proud that a player like Smytty wanted to come back here. Don’t tarnish it, please, MacT.

    • Bucknuck

      Sentimental actions are for amateur sports. This is a professional sport and therefore,a business.

      Get everything and anything you can for Smyth or anyone else who is traded. They are being paid to do a job, and being paid well to do it…

      • Bucknuck

        My money gets spent because I have a sentimental attachment to the team. I don’t want Smyth to go, unless he wants to. The only reason the Oilers have him is because he asked to be traded here and gave LA no room to negotiate.

        As far as I am concerned, doing that should earn him the right to stay if he would like.

        • Serious Gord

          And that is a fair stance to have.

          Just don’t whine when your team of sentimental favorites finishes in 29th place.

          You can cheer really loud for Smytty while he shoots that 30 mile an hour slapshot from the blueline into the chest of the other team’s goalie.

          Maybe have cocoa or hot soup after the game.After all,winning doesn’t matter, it’s having fun that counts.

          GOOOO SMYTTY!!!!! Give Him the “C”…He deserves it!!! Captain Canada!!!!!


      • D

        @Noooo!!! – Your view is what could be referred to as the “Peter Pocklington” way of running a business. Bucknuck’s view would fall into the Mike Ilitch model.

  • Serious Gord

    “And no it didn’t turn out to be a good trade but most trades don’t.”

    No, that doesn’t make sense, braniac. I would say about 50% of trades don’t turn out good if you flip a coin, more often than not they will turn out good if you know what you are doing, and then there’s your take, which only occurs if you expect inferior management.

    “That doesn’t change the fact the Oilers got 3 15th overall prospects and picks out of the Islanders for what turned out to be a rental. Making a bad selection with the pick doesn’t make it bad return”

    30% chance that pick turns out. So I am not sure that was a bad pick. It was an average pick for that position in the draft, because it was unlikely to turn out well.

    And then there’s the fact that they took 4.25 of that 5.5 million and spent it on 5 years of Dustin Penner. He scored 47, 37, 63, 45, and 17 pts. Even if you look at those first 3 years, that’s 147 pts. 2 less than Ryan, and with more games played. Oilers saved 1.3 million a season to get the same production from a player that was criticized by fans and media, rather than a hometown favorite.

    Oh, and here’s the kicker. We got 3 nobodies back from NYI. And to correct the mistake of trading away Smyth, the Penner offer sheet return was: 2008 #12 overall Tyler Myers, #43 overall Justin Schultz, and #73 Kirill Petrov