Well, that's a plot thickener if ever there was one.
Bob McKenzie: Ryan Smyth tells Kings he'd prefer to rejoin Oilers
Could Ryan Smyth be returning to the Edmonton Oilers in order to finish his career with the team that selected him in the first round of the 1994 entry draft? [...] Sources tell TSN the 35-year-old left winger has indicated to the Kings his preference would be to play next season in Edmonton if a trade can be worked out. [...T]here are some practical reasons why it won't be an easy deal to facilitate and there's no guarantee it will happen at all. [...T]he Kings, who are desperately seeking to upgrade their top-six forward positions, aren't about to give away Smyth for nothing. [...] The finances of all of this may also be an issue for the Oilers. Sources say the Oilers' management team may only be lukewarm to the idea of Smyth returning "home." The reality is that the Oilers are in a major rebuilding phase and going with a youth movement. Adding $4.5 million to the payroll, with a $6.25 million cap hit, for a 35-year-old forward, even one with the local marquee value of Smyth, isn't a slam dunk unless the Oilers can offload some salary. [...] The Kings and Oilers have not had substantive trade talks by any means, but both organizations are well aware of the existing situation. That is, in a perfect world, Smyth has indicated he would like to return "home" to the Edmonton Oilers.
You don't request a trade from a playoff contending team of the future to a bottom-feeding team at the beginning of a rebuild unless you are pretty f***ing unhappy. I remember some rumblings about dissent within the various factions of the "leadership group," rumors which we all (or most of us) dismissed. Or maybe Smyth just doesn't like back-checking. Another Terry Murray casualty, maybe.
Certainly makes my buy-out suggestion a lot more possible, I would think. I really can't imagine Lombardi wanting Smyth around with everyone on the planet knowing he doesn't want to be here.
As far as Edmonton not wanting to take on salary...they're about $11MM under the floor with 7-8 players left to sign, so they're going to spend that money one way or another. Bringing on a player who is getting paid a couple million less than his cap hit saves them a couple million real dollars.
If Edmonton wants him, I'm good with that. Just give us our pick back. Then we'll have -- all of the sudden -- plenty of room to sign whatever UFA we want.