Covered In Oil’s Mike W. struggles to make sense of Edmonton’s swap of F Ryan Smyth for the Islanders’ Ryan O’Mara and Kent Nillson.
Today’s deal is clearly a case of throwing the 30-goal scoring golden baby out with the bath water. I wouldn’t call Kevin Lowe cheap (how else can you explain the loyalty contracts to Staios or Pisani?) but we’re talking a difference of a million dollars: a couple of Toby Petersons, really.
This is Ryan Smyth. The man, who, for the record [tears of pure oil welling up in my eye], I’ve always felt was a much more important player to the Oilers than Mark Messier.
He was our last shot at a real Stevie Y type: a true blue Oiler with a special failure of imagination to think of playing anywhere else. At one time, I thought things like institutional memory were important, that we weren’t just cheering for laundry, the idea that teams could have distinct identities that could span decades.
But alas, the salary cap era has only made players even more expendable. I’m under no illusion that hockey isn’t a business, but it’s an increasingly cap-fixated, mercenary one, which totally sucks, especially today.
If I close my eyes, I can see Ryan Smyth’s ferrety face; his slinky, durable body slipping past a check on the boards; and of course, that small pile of blood and teeth left on the ice during the 2006 playoffs.
Bon Voyage, Ryan, (and say hi to Marc-Andre Bergeron for me once you get to Long Island)