There has been something missing from the Oilers' lineup for quite some time. Some may not agree with me, but I think that it has a lot to do with heart and grit. The Oilers need someone who is willing to take a puck to the teeth and yet not miss a shift. Someone who knows what it's like to a a fan favourite on and off the ice and who can handle the pressure with grace and charm. Handling the pressure of being a public figure is not something that will be easy to learn for the new young core of the Oilers. They will have to learn the hard way in many cases, but having a player that has been through it and would have some advice sure would be a great asset to have. I'm sure that Ryan Jones would also love to have someone to share hair grooming tips with, or to have a friendly competition with.
My heart did skip a beat with TSN's Bob McKenzie's story broke yesterday. It's just a rumour, it's just a dream but wouldn't it be something. Wouldn't having a player like Smyth make it a little easier to get through the next few years and yet help the team build for the future?
Ryan Smyth is not that player that we remember. He is a little older, a little more worn and weary, even his hair is shorter and not the hockey Jesus hair we remember. Even so, the core of the man is the same. I don't think anyone out there had their Smyth jersey re-crested. I don't think that anyone reading this put their Smyth merchandise for sale on Ebay or Kijiji. He is still the player that we would want included in our Oilers Mount Puckmore. He was also the first choice for many of our writers and readers here for our favourite post dynasty Oiler.
Our SB Nation brothers at Jewels from the Crown have had a lot to say on this topic, but sadly we are all just stuck speculating and dreaming. With the Oilers in their current financial situation, there is room for a big contract. Especially if they can save a couple million dollars by buying out Sheldon Souray. You have to think that this is still a business; it's not our money as easy as it is for us to spend it from our armchairs.
Smyth's cap hit is $6.25 M while his salary for his final year of his contract is $4.5 M. The Oilers likely aren't going to be a cap team this season either, so the cap hit will likely not be what would make the Oilers shirk away. What may make the Oilers nervous is any bad blood between Lowe and Smyth, and adding another "aged" veteran player. That Khabibulin deal is not something that Tambellini will be putting on the front page of his next cover letter.
In Oilers' GM Steve Tambellini's press conference this morning, Tambellini said on this rumour "As far as Ryan, yes I'm aware of the story. He's a good person. That's Ryan's business, that's Dean Lombardi's business." Nothing more was said and no one asked any further questions.
So, I take it to the people; would you be in favour of the Oilers pursuing Ryan Smyth?