The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported earlier today that Ryan Smyth would consider waiving his No-Trade Clause in order to join the New York Rangers and compete for the Stanley Cup. Of course, this created waves in the media and Ryan Smyth himself commented on the report.
“I’ve moved four times in the last five years. I came (to Edmonton) for a reason.” – Ryan Smyth, saying he’s not interested in the Rangers
— Rob Tychkowski (@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI) February 3, 2012
So now we are left with Ryan Smyth completely contradicting Larry Brooks’ report. So how do we perceive it and what do we believe?
As I’ve said multiple times on Blue Line Station, Larry Brooks, regardless of what you think of him as a journalist, has credible sources and has proven this time and time again. That being said, he’s also been wrong before. So we’re left in the dark here.
Now let’s talk about Ryan Smyth. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1994 and had his NHL debut with the team during the 1994-1995 season. He spent played with the Oilers and nobody else until the 2006-2007 season, when he was traded to the New York Islanders he cried in front of the media. And after short stints with the Avalanche and the Kings he essentially forced a trade back to the Oilers. So it is pretty obvious that Ryan Smyth loves the city of Edmonton and has no qualms with staying there.
That being said, he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and there are no guarantees that he and the Oilers can agree to a contract, or that the Oilers even want to bring him back. And Ryan Smyth has only had one real shot at winning the Stanley Cup, with the Oilers in 2006.
So why would the Rangers be an attractive move for Smyth? For one, we’re an obvious Stanley Cup contender. If Ryan Smyth is to accept any trade it would almost certainly have to be to a team with a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley Cup; a trade to a bubble team like he experienced in his move to the Islanders is not happening again. There’s also the relationship Smyth has with Glen Sather, as Brooks points out. Sather, as GM of the Oilers at the time, was the one who drafted Smyth and was at the helm during the first five seasons of Smyth’s career. If there is any GM in the NHL who can talk Smyth into a trade, it is probably Glen Sather.
So yes, Ryan Smyth did a good job of putting a speed bump on any speculation of him moving. However, he also is not going to purposely add fuel to the fire and confirm a rumor from a beat writer a month removed from the trading deadline. If Brooks’ claim that Smyth is only “considering” it and has not made up his mind then surely confirming a report would create a major distraction for both Smyth and the Oiles as he weighed his options. Thus, I do not want to say Smyth is a liar because it may very well be the case that he feels no desire to move anywhere else. However, I also do not believe comments to the media is cause for closing the doors on the possibility of Smyth coming to the Rangers.