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On this day in 1994, the Edmonton Oilers drafted Ryan Smyth

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
9 months ago
On this day in 1994, the Edmonton Oilers used the sixth overall pick at the NHL Draft to capture one of the best players ever to put on the blue and orange threads, Ryan Smyth.
If you’re an Oilers fan, you know all about what Smyth did for the Oilers organization, and a lot of it was beyond the goals scored and minutes played. Smyth made Edmonton home, and he loved it, just as the fans did him.
Smyth first came face-to-face with NHL players at 11-years-old when he was a stick boy for the Team Canada training camp in his hometown of Banff, AB, ahead of the 1987 Canada Cup. The legendary Glenn Anderson was playing for the Oilers at the time and was one of the players in attendance at the camp. Anderson offered to give the young Smyth a ride to the golf day the team was hosting.
When Smyth bent down to tie his shoe behind Anderson’s car, he unintentionally backed into him. Anderson took Smyth to the hospital, where his only injury was a rolled ankle.
Little did Anderson know Smyth would soon wear the same colours he triumphed in.
Years later, Smyth would wind up playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL in Saskatchewan. He notched 19 goals and 33 points in his rookie year in 1992-93. He would do far more than double his point production a year later as he scored 50 goals and 107 points becoming one of the top-rated NHL prospects.
There were certain attributes about Smyth that caught the eye of Oilers general manager Glen Sather and his team. The forward had a grinder mentality with a scoring touch, as the Red Deer Advocate‘s Greg Meachem reported, something the Oilers just couldn’t pass up.
On this day 29 years ago, a young Smyth would sit amongst many other young players waiting for their names to be called one by one at Hartford Civic Centre in Hartford, Connecticut. Finally, once Sather and his team gathered on the stage, it was only seconds before Smyth joined them, and his NHL story would begin to be written.
“I’m really excited,” said the young star to Meachem.
“I would of been happy going anywhere, it just happened to be Edmonton that picked me. I couldn’t be happier.”
Like many others, his story was written in an arena, more specifically Rexall Place, with his blades engraving the ice all over the NHL and his stick sending pucks soaring into the beaten twine. Smyth’s legacy was started in Edmonton just one year later when he played 48 games dressed in the signature oil drop.
Smyth spent his first 11 years in Edmonton and became known as one of the hardest-working forwards in the league. In 2007, after an emotional farewell, the Oilers sent Smyth off to the New York Islanders, a trade that secured the Oilers a first-round pick in 2007 (Alex Plante) and Ryan O’Mara.
Smyth was destined to make his Stanley Cup dreams come true but knew Edmonton was where his heart was, which in following his heart brought him back to the Oilers in a June 2011 trade.
He played for three years in the City of Champions during his second stint, scoring 31 goals and 82 points over 201 games. In 2014 his last game had finally come after 19 years in the NHL. Smyth would play his last game at Rexall Place, boasting a loud and proud orange ‘C’ on the left side of his jersey — something many have argued he should’ve worn years prior.
Thousands of fans bellowed throughout the walls of the great Edmonton arena as the Oilers reigned victorious over the Vancouver Canucks with a score of 5-2. As the final buzzer sounded, the team surrounded their veteran leader one last time, and Smyth took his final lap with tears the size of oil drops rolling down his cheeks.
“It was an awesome experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life,” Smyth told The Canadian Press.
“I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of putting on this jersey, and any jersey in the NHL. To see the fan appreciation from the start to the end, they are the best fans in the world. I am thoroughly honoured to stand up here today and say I enjoyed every moment.”

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