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.
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.
IS THERE A MARKET?
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
THE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAHMMER
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.
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.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
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.