Captain Canada Ryan Smyth Crowned a LA King

JoeyCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

CHICAGO - MARCH 08:  (L-R)  Ryan Smyth #94 and Marek Svatos #40 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate after Smyth scored a goal in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on March 8, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Tonight Ryan Smyth and his five-year $31.25 million contract travels from Denver to LA in return for Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing, and a fifth-round pick for next year.

It's a hard pill to swallow since Smyth tied for the lead in points with Milan Hejduk and was a heart and soul player.

Kyle Quincey, 23, is a solid defensemen who put up 38 points and a minus five rating for the Kings in 72 games last year.  Unfortunately, during the Francois Giguere era, Quincey was available off of waivers from Detroit but LA grabbed him.  He costs just $525k/year but is an RFA after this year.

Tom Preissing, 30, is an average defensemen who put up seven points and a minus seven rating in 22 games this season.  He costs $2.75 million per year and his contract is up in two seasons.

Obviously, this is an attempt to free up cap space for the Avalanche.  The Avalanche are shedding Left Wings which seems to indicate that a signing of Alex Tanguay or another UFA LW is upcoming.

Either way, the Avalanche are spending roughly three million per year less today than they were last year and have lost a couple of years in age.

Hopefully, the Avalanche can continue flipping players.  My hope is Scott Hannan or Brett Clark is next to leave. 

Scott Hannan set the lowest +/- on the team last year with -19.  He has two years left on a $4.5 million per year. 

Chicago has been rumored to be looking for a big, shut down defensemen to complement smooth skating defensemen Duncan Keith, Brian Campbell, and Brent Seabrook.

Hopefully Hannan's their man.  Patrick Sharp anyone?