Ryan Smyth’s role on the current Edmonton Oilers is best described in Bowie music by the phrase ‘planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”–he is, absolutely, out of time with the current tune. If the current Oilers are a brand new, fashionable tuxedo, surely Ryan Smyth is a pair of old brown shoes.
RE 13-14: 72, 12-16-28
- For crying out loud, give it up. Loyalty is one thing, but this is ridiculous. Why? He did not have a strong season in 2012-13, but I think we can agree there were special circumstances. In the last full season, Smyth faced tougher opposition, delivered a solid offensive season and his Vollman Sledgehammer for 11-12 was only slightly in the red.
- When was the last time he had a good offensive season AND a good shot differential? His final season in LA, Smyth scored 23 goals and had the second best CorsiON for the team. His first Edmonton season was solid offensively (82, 19-27-46) and as I mentioned he played tougher opposition and his CorsiREL was narrowly in the red.
- So how much did he lose offensively this season? Quite a bit. In 11-12, Smyth ranked 5th among Oiler forwards at 5×5/60 (1.93) and really the only players well clear of him offensively were Hall and Eberle. In 12-13, he ranked 11th among Oiler forwards with a paltry 1.23/60.
- Was Ryan Jones clearly better? Jones ranked 7th (1.38/60), which is about where he’s been since arriving in Edmonton.
- So, the question is can Smyth turn back the clock? Well, it’s a little more than that: Smyth played in some bad luck (on ice shooting percentage, 7%; PDO below par) and he didn’t exactly get a cherry ’57 Chevy from Krueger in terms of linemates.
- Who did he play with? The linemates (at 5×5) he was on the ice most often with include Mike Brown (175 minutes), Lennart Petrell (172 minutes), Eric Belanger (112 minutes) and Shawn Horcoff (92 minutes).
- Does he still have that strange chem with Ryan Jones? Yes, as a matter of fact. Smyth-Jones together (47.7%) were superior to Smyth-others (42.5%) and Jones when apart from Smyth (41.9%–this is all Corsi FOR percentage by the way–which is Corsi For /(Corsi For + Corsi Against).
- So he’s your choice to line up with Gordon and Hemsky? Yes, most often yes. I have no doubt we’ll see others lining up at 3L and there’s every chance I get halfway through this series and MacT makes an addition. Having said that, I think Smyth–even at this age and at this speed–wins the day enough to be considered the actual 3line LW.
- Isn’t there a better solution from last year’s team for this role? Yes. Magnus Paajarvi.
- Well, your choice MacT skewered that, didn’t he? MacT upgraded the team. New concept for Oiler fans, but we’ll get used to it.
- Will Smyth play center? Maybe. I don’t really see the point–the Oilers have Nuge, Gagner, Gordon and Lander as the 4C’s and either you commit to it or get another center. If he’s C Smyth is 4line but that for me is miscast, he’s a better LW than C.
- Will he PK? Oh YEAH. Lots and lots and lots and lots.
- What is his legacy as an Oiler? He’s the link between the boys on the bus and the boys we’re watching now. Ryan Smyth as an Oiler played with Glenn Anderson, Bill Ranford, Kelly Buchberger, Kevin Lowe, Petr Klima; he played with outstanding players of his era like Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Curtis Joseph, Ales Hemsky, Chris Pronger and then of course this group we see today. He’s kind of a bridge, and has been a wonderful, wonderful Oiler.
- Is there a chance you’re being sentimental here? I’m certain most who read this will feel that way, but for me there isn’t a better (obvious) alternative. Maybe Ryan Jones becomes more attentive to detail, maybe Joensuu is a home run for the pro scouts, maybe Ryan Hamilton is exactly what Eakins wants on that line, hell maybe Rajala forces his way onto the roster with a brilliant training camp. The surest bet I see is Ryan Smyth reaching deep down one more time and delivering another bump and grind season.
- Why this song? GREAT song for Smyth, for all kinds of reasons: isolation, short future (although not as tragic an ending as poor Major Tom met with), sentimental and yet cruel (‘tell my wife I love her very much” sung sweetly followed by the snottiest “SHE KNOWS!” in history–always chuckled at that part)–it’s a great fit. Ryan Smyth sitting in his tin can, far above the world, planet earth is blue and there’s nothing he can do. He left it all out there in the 2000′s, God love him.
- Well, I wish him luck. Me too, and a long drink from the fountain of youth in October.
2012-13 SMYTH VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
Smyth did not face the toughs (opposition coaches are looking for the men in blue for matchups) but he did have a fairly severe zone start. Among the group of men whose zone start was this difficult in 2012-13, Smyth delivered less offensively 5×5 than Jones or Petrell, but only mildly so–and if his linemates improve that number should also get better. Certainly a year with Hemsky would smarten that 5×5/60 up nicely.
Thank you, Ryan Smyth. I have enjoyed watching you play hockey very much, and whatever happens this year you’re a champion in these eyes. Full stop.