The Edmonton Oilers completed their trade for hockey hero Ryan Smyth(notes) on Sunday, ending a few days of confusion, false starts and unintentional comedy ... and making Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi look like a [expletive] genius.
The Edmonton Oilers finally completed their deal with the Los Angeles Kings Sunday to get the hugely popular winger back in his old No 94. They sent centre Colin Fraser(notes) and a seventh round pick in 2012 for Smyth after Kings GM Dean Lombardi had balked at taking forward Gilbert Brule(notes) because of health issues.
It's expected Lombardi will buy out the $825,000 one year contract Fraser has left at two-thirds which is $550,000
Lombardi had planned on buying out Brule at one-third of his $1.85 mil because he is under 26. Fraser is over 26.
The wrinkle with Brule was that buying out an injured player is forbidden under the CBA (See: Drury, Chris). Were it not for his picking up Bono has a hitchhiker, his holding up a major trade for the Edmonton Oilers would be the most patently absurd Gilbert Brule news of the year.
So how does this shake out for the teams? Very well … especially for the Kings.
Earlier this week, we broke down the ramifications for the Oilers and Kings when it came to Smyth. The Oilers take:
Should they acquire him, the Edmonton Oilers would add the kind of veteran intangibles that transition a team from a wayward collection of young stars and well-compensated vets into a cohesive playoff contender.
He's Captain Canada, for Pete's sake — a veteran gamer that plays with a body held together by scotch tape and willpower, who leads by example by hauling ass on every shift.
They'd also get a player who scored nine goals on the power play last season with Los Angeles, which would have made him Edmonton's PPG leader. And while left wing is pretty well-spoken for with Taylor Hall(notes) and Magnus Paajarvi(notes) … what, are we going to pretend that there's a debate about Ryan Smyth vs. Teemu Hartikanien or Jason Strudwick(notes)?
Ryan Smyth makes $6.25 million against the cap, which means the Los Angeles savings in this deal are significant.
"To me, it was kind of simple, but it's, OK, if something has to come back (to the Kings) to make this work, then there has to be certain things in place to allow me to run my (salary) cap. If they're not in place, then this makes no sense. Because I have to replace this player. That's the only urgency for me. I have to replace him. In order to replace him, whatever I'm taking back has to allow me full freedom to keep that (cap) space available. If that is not there, I can't do this deal. And those conditions were not there. So there's no deal.
"It makes no sense for me to lose this player and lose the flexibility. I need to replace him. That's where it broke down. When it was clear that I couldn't do what I needed to do with that player I'm taking back, then it's not what the deal was based on, in any stretch of the imagination, and it certainly doesn't make any sense for me."
Our tin-foil hat, Pelican Brief theory was always that the Kings leaked the trade "request" to spark a massive fan outcry in Edmonton and force the hand of the Oilers to make this deal. Whatever ended up getting the Oilers to bite, it's a great salary dump for the Kings.
After the Mike Richards(notes) trade, the need a right wing replacement for Wayne Simmonds(notes). Now, they need something on the left side to replace Smyth, who was a more significant offensive contributor.
You could argue that they could use Smyth's cap space to add both players through trades or free agency. The savings are that significant.
Help on the left side via free agency is hard to find; wonder what Dean Lombardi has in mind?
Bottom line: The Kings managed to ship out a player who goes free agent next summer, who was requesting a trade that had a $6.25 million cap hit with a no-trade clause and with a preferred destinations list that read "Only, Alberta."
That's a win for Lombardi.