Could Ryan Smyth Be Homeward Bound?: Former Oiler Could Return to Edmonton

Kruzer KryzanowskiContributor IJuly 9, 2010

DENVER - MARCH 24: Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings looks on during warm ups prior to facing the Colorado Avalanche during NHL action at the Pepsi Center on March 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It's hard to fathom, three years after what many fans in Oil Country dubbed "Black Tuesday," that Ryan Smyth's name would come up in conversation along with the Edmonton Oilers, unless you're reminiscing about the "good ol' days."

Yet rumors circulating out of Los Angeles recently are suggesting that Kings GM Dean Lombardi is interested in acquiring disgruntled Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray in exchange for Smyth.

This comes after Lombardi's "on-again/off-again" courting of coveted unrestricted free agent Ilya Kovalchuk. It's been suggested that should the Kings sign the Russian superstar, Smyth, who also plays left wing, and his $6.25M price tag would need to be moved off the books in order to make room for Kovalchuk.

In a lot of ways, this move would make sense for both sides.

Since Feb. 27, 2007, the day the Oilers traded Smyth to the New York Islanders in exchange for C Robert Nilsson, C Ryan O'Marra, and the Islanders' 2007 First Round Draft Pick (D Alex Plante), the Oilers have been on a downward spiral.

The club with so much potential and promise after their storied Stanley Cup Final run the season before seemed to have had its heart ripped out and missed the playoffs. But it didn't stop there.

In the season that followed, the Oilers then systematically dismantled everything that made them successful in 2006, starting with allowing defensive forward C Marty Reasoner to leave town via free agency and sign with the Atlanta Thrashers, trading C Jarret Stoll and D Matt Greene to the Kings in exchange for D Lubomir Vishnovsky, and finally, last offseason, signing G Nikolai Khabibulin and allowing team MVP G Dwayne Roloson to leave and sign with the New York Islanders.

This chain reaction of moves from Smyth's departure to the present culminated in the Oilers finishing dead last in the NHL in 2009-10. Although the arrival of first overall pick Taylor Hall in Edmonton is a blessing after the comedy of errors leading up to the present day, a move to get Smyth back in Oil Country would rejuvenate a spirit and fire almost forgotten in the City of Champions.

In Souray, the Kings would receive a veteran puck-moving defenseman and a power-play quarterback to complement and take a little bit of pressure off budding star D Drew Doughty, who, along with Jack Johnson, Randy Jones, and the rest of their young defensive corps, would benefit from his leadership and experience.

In addition, his $5.4M cap hit would allow more breathing room to sign the likes of Kovalchuk and their trio of upcoming restricted free agents: Doughty, Johnson, and RW Wayne Simmonds.

It would be a win-win situation for both clubs in my estimation. But as mentioned, at this point, it is all rumor and speculation and really all rests on two factors: 1) the Kings winning the "Ilya Kovalchuk Sweepstakes" and 2) if Smyth will waive his no-trade Clause to come home to Oil Country, since it's believed that Souray's indicated the Kings are a team he'd waive to go to.

If both of those things do come to pass, it will be a very interesting day in the City of Champions to say the least.

On a personal note though, as a fan, my only hope out of this if it actually does happen is for the Oilers at least make to an attempt at bringing Stollie and Greener back, along with Smytty, to try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again as best they can. 'Cause as always, my motto is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Unfortunately for the Oilers, they've now got to try to fix this mess they've made for themselves—one that wasn't even broken in the first place.

Keep Kruzin', and thanks for reading.


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