Unfortunate After Effect
The Los Angeles Kings miss Ryan Smyth.
I refuse to acknowledge the past two games. What is this ‘past two games’ you speak of? Trash.
Smyth, a menace atop the crease, and a player who always has had the knack to finish, took his valued attributes back to Edmonton over the summer. The qualities Smyth brought to the Kings’ roster for two years were underrated by some, his absence is showing a few holes in the team’s offensive output this year.
Don’t be afraid to admit this, please.
Back home this season, Ryan Smyth has 36 points in his 52 games played. If those numbers were to be compared with those on the Kings, Smyth would be tied for 2nd in points on the team with Justin Williams (36), only behind Anze Kopitar (46). Pretty impressive for Smyth at the age of 35, who was heavily targeted in Los Angeles heading into the ’10-’11 season, simply for inevitably turning 34.
There are two key things I’d like to point out before we go any farther, and before people start to stray away from the main point here. Ryan Smyth didn’t want to stay here, and even if Dean Lombardi didn’t honor his trade request, you’d have an unhappy veteran in the locker room. That’s not good. Second, when the Kings granted Smyth’s wish, they saved $6.25 million on this year’s salary cap hit. If not for this money, the Kings very well may be without Mike Richards or Simon Gagne. And of course, where would the Kings find the cash to pay this guy?
Really, I’d love to make this article as sweet as possible and imagine Ryan Smyth with today’s Kings roster, but the chances of that happening were slim to none.
Highlight reels haven’t often caught Smyth throughout his career, they sure aren’t these days either. He has no shot, he’s got below average speed, and no physical presence. However, the guy manages to score, and is 3rd in points on an Edmonton Oilers roster that is stacked with youth.
One of the biggest misconceptions made about Ryan Smyth may be those judgments sparked by his age.
For the way this season has gone for Ninety Four, he could slinky behind the goal-line, throw weak (yet smart) close-range shots on net, and use that magical wooden blade of his to redirect pucks to hit twine at a decent rate until he’s 40. These aren’t skills that demand invigorated youth, but more smarts and experience. Ryan Smyth knows how to anticipate plays, how to position for a shot’s rebound, and how to make something out of what looks to be absolutely nothing.
Smyth is reportedly on the NHL trade market for the upcoming deadline as a loan, meaning he’d have to waive his no-trade clause with an expected mutual agreement to return to Edmonton for the ’12-’13 campaign. There will be no Smyth-LA reunion, there are too many reasons to note; And if you are aware of just one, that should be enough to close the door.
It’s just a bit unfortunate, and that’s easier to say with how this Kings’ offense has panned out this year, which is rather top-heavy with extremely notable NHL talent. Yet, much of the fanbase is in hopes for a big-time deal from Dean Lombardi before the February 27 trade deadline. The talent is already here, what you’re really looking for is 3rd/4th line depth and/or a scrappy asset like Smyth. Edmonton’s veteran is on pace to notch 57 points this season, more than he had in each of his two seasons donning a Kings sweater.
Shots on goal haven’t been the issue this year, having someone there to reinforce executing on that opportunity is. That’s what Smyth does, that’s what he did in Los Angeles.
The following clip is from Edmonton’s victory in Detroit Saturday night, and this is what it’s all about. Ryan Smyth has the assist on Simon Gagner‘s goal here – via his shot along the half-boards. That shot is ugly, that shot has nothing on it, yet the results are beautiful. That’s instinct, goals are produced in this form more often than you’d think, you just wont see them on ESPN.