When he left us the final time, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It is a great injustice when our heroes find their feet of clay, for them and for us. Doubly so when an everyman—one of us, touched by God—has to hang ‘em up. It’s a damn tough day, even for the strongest man.
RYAN SMYTH 10-11 (LAK)
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.62 (6th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.37 (3rd among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 2nd toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 5th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 8.9 (2nd best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 51.9% (7th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 48.0% (8th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 195/11.8% (7th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 82, 23-24-47
- Plus Minus: -1 on a team that was +16
RYAN SMYTH 11-12
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.93 (5th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.39 (10th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 3rd toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 9th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -1.5 (8th best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 48.1% (10th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 51.7% (5th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 194/9.8% (9th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 82, 19-27-46
- Plus Minus: -5 on a team that was -26
RYAN SMYTH 12-13
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.23 (11th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 1.07 (10th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 9th toughest among regular forwards (3rd line opp)
- Qual Team: 9th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -3.9 (8th best among regular forwards) (-14.50 CorsiON)
- Zone Start: 42.3% (11th easiest–5th toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 50.6% (7th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 69/2.9% (8th among F’s>68 shots)
- Boxcars: 47, 2-11-13
- Plus Minus: -5 on a team that was -15
RYAN SMYTH 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.19 (9th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.32 (9th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 8th toughest among regular forwards (3rd line opp)
- Qual Team: 7th best teammates among regular forwards (3rd line teammates)
- Corsi Rel: 4.6 (4th best among regular forwards)
- Corsi for % 5×5: 45.3
Corsi for % Rel 5×5: +1.7
- Zone Start: 36.1% (5th toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 44.2% (10th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 129/7.8% (5th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 72, 10-13-23
- Plus Minus: -18 on a team that was -51
RE 13-14: 72, 12-16-28 .389
ACTUAL: 72, 10-13-23 .319
- RE isn’t bad. He was tracking ahead of the RE, but potted only four points in his final 26 games.
- Was it time to go? Boy he looked good for a long time this season, and he did express an interest in returning. I’d have brought him back for a final spin.
- His numbers improved! Shooting percentage went up, power-play helped when a few more pucks went in. He certainly delivered more than many of the younger set on the bottom 6F.
- Anything else? Last season, The linemates (at 5×5) he was on the ice most often with included Mike Brown (175 minutes), Lennart Petrell (172 minutes), Eric Belanger (112 minutes) and Shawn Horcoff (92 minutes). This season it was Boyd Gordon (336 minutes), David Perron (207 minutes), Ales Hemsky (164 minutes) and Luke Gazdic (138 minutes).
- Wow. BIG change in quality! Yeah, I think so. Smyth was an extra cast member under Ralph, but he played more and with better this past season. He was still getting the short end on zone starts, but that’s just good business.
- How was he used? Well, Gordon faced tough opposition and severe zone starts all year. We’ll get to more on that in the Gordon RE but Eakins probably wants an entire line of Gordons who can fill that role. Tough ZS, tough opposition. Smyth had fairly severe zone starts, and faced tougher comp, but of course the top 6F are getting tougher opponents because they’re the scorers, and they are getting tougher opps because of it.
- I guess Smyth saw every quadrant of the Vollman Sledgehammer over the years. Yes, you bet. And ripped it up too. By the way, Renney and Eakins used him in the same way, pretty much spot on.
- Interesting. What would a 25-year old Smyth do as part of this group? The mind boggles. That late 1990′s team could wheel, outstanding team and some of the finest Oiler hockey over the last 20 years.
- 2006 the best Oiler team he played for? Oh yeah. Loved that team.
- What the HELL happened that summer? My take has always been this: Kevin Lowe had some work to do, right away, signing free agents. He got Roloson done, then Pisani, and later in the summer began signing guys who would be UFA the following year. Smyth didn’t go to the media until very late summer with his “hometown discount” comments but the die was cast at that point in time. Lowe had passed over Smyth to sign others in his eyes (remember, this is me projecting) and they were headed for a fight.
- And then Lowe screwed him over! Well, I think the issue became red hot quickly, and the agent must have had a helluva time. Lowe and Smyth are similar—very emotional—and it held them in good stead as players but isn’t a good thing in negotiation.
- What is a good thing in negotiation? Indifference in regard to the outcome. It’s like catnip.
- He should have been indifferent? Smyth may have been wiser to avoid the media—the Oilers must have a special ‘up yours’ manual for guys who do—and when approached might have said “Kevin knows when my contract ends, and I’m sure he has something in mind” in a easy breezy way. It’s tough to do though, for anyone.
- Lowe should also have been less emotional? Sure. I agree. I suspect one of the reasons he no longer has the GM job is that he’s an emotional guy. The Comrie thing, the Smyth thing, the Souray thing—the Oilers are a big, big enterprise but at times they are run like the corner store. That’s not a good thing.
- Why do you always support Lowe? I’m not trying to support, defend or attack. I think it’s very hard to argue that 2006 summer was a good one for him, but the 2005 transactions were golden. We’ll never know how good he might have been in the GM chair, I think his emotions got the best of him.
- The “is it me?” interviews? Yes, and other things. But we’re talking Smyth here.
- Will you do a Lowe RE later? Sure, if there’s interest.
- Okay, back to Smyth. What is his legacy? I believe he belongs in the rafters with the best Oilers of all time. If we’re making a team, who would play LW in front of him? Hall eventually, but now? Simpson? Tikkanen? Are you sure? I’d put Smyth’s number in the rafters on the night of the first Oiler home playoff game, and I’d have CuJo and Weight and Arnott and Marchant and Horc and Hemsky and Mrs. Pronger there to make him cry.
- And he would! Of course he would! He loves this game and this team as much as we do. That’s Smyth’s appeal.
- And what Lowe could never understand. Nah, that’s wrong. Lowe has the same affliction. This little prairie city keeps adopting and falling in love with these hard as nail, tough sonofa’s who fight tooth and nail for every inch. It’s a natural fit, working man’s player in a working man’s town. And the player wanders into an embrace and never wants to leave. Up next: Darnell Nurse.
- Then what goes wrong? Please understand: Just because you were a legendary player doesn’t mean you can be a good General Manager. Different set of skills.
- So then MacT will fail? We’ll see. I very much like MacT’s resume and how he got to the job, and do think he did some good things. He also offered Clarkson big money and offloaded Smid for futures, so there’s some good, some bad.
- But all good Smyth? All day. I miss the big lug already.
- How many times have you watched that Saturday HNIC final game? Just the once.
- Liar. Move on.
- Why this song? It’s long and epic, and beautiful and reckless at times, and it repeats and repeats and repeats until things are right. Finally the horns just take you to the ocean and the waves wash over you and make things new again.
- Sail On? Sail on.