Edmonton's mainstream media has fallen into a curiously simultaneous lockstep view on the possibility of a Ryan Smyth trade. As Smyth waits on a response from the Oilers and refuses to waive his no-trade clause to go to Calgary, the rhetoric intensifies. Since the MSM writers are all pushing a similar viewpoint on Twitter, I thought it might behoove a non-mainstream writer to address some of their arguments and bring some accuracy to the debate. After the jump, a breakdown of the arguments set forth thus far.
- "Ryan Smyth is a 3rd line wing" - He might be a third line left wing on the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970's, but on the Edmonton Oilers, he'd be the only proven tough-minutes left wing. A check of his player card on Behind The Net shows a player taking on toughs and second-toughs and coming out ahead. Taylor Hall is the power-versus-power wing in waiting, but last year he took on second-tough minutes and gave up a ton of scoring chances against, second-worst among the Oilers' forwards. He could benefit from one more year against softer minutes while his complete game develops. Ryan Smyth could step into the first line, tough minutes role with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky and the Oilers would be a much better team for it.
- "He'll take ice time away from the Hall and Magnus Paajarvi" - With 60 minutes in every game there will be plenty of time to spread out between Hall, Smyth, and Paajarvi. What the addition of Smyth would do is take ice time away from Ryan Jones. Based on Jones' scoring chance data from last season that would be a good thing for the Oilers.
- "The Oilers can't afford $6.25 million" - Smyth's actual salary is $4.5 million for 2011-2012.
- "The Oilers can't afford $6.25 million cap hit" - The Oilers are currently below the cap floor and have $27 million in cap space. There are no issues with cap space.
- "The Oilers can't afford to let go of the draft pick." - In tearing apart the roster to finish last twice in a row, the Oilers have managed to convince the media and fans of an inflated value of draft choices. The rumored price for Ryan Smyth is a 3rd round pick. The odds that a 3rd round pick turns into a top player are something around 7.4%, or in other words, a longshot.
- "Fans would be livid if the Oilers traded a 3rd round pick for an expensive 35 year-old forward not named Smyth" - If the Oilers sent away a 3rd round pick for a tough minutes forward of similar salary for a single year, Oiler fans would be extremely happy. Daniel Alfredsson, Patrik Elias, Martin St. Louis, Teemu Selanne are all old forwards who can still play top minutes and all would make Oiler fans extremely happy in exchange for a 3rd round pick.
- "This is all nostalgia" - The Oilers have three major needs going into the off-season. If they can fill those needs they become a competitive team again. They need a tough-minutes defender, a platoon goaltender and a top line left wing to play with Gagner and Hemsky.
Keep in mind that should Tambellini decide to step in and make a deal, even for a third round pick, the MSM will do an about face on the issue and applaud the Oilers' decision-making, call Smyth an "ideal mentor" for a developing team, and call Steve Tambellini a sly fox for getting such value for such a low price.