Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Smyth Wanted a Long Term Deal in the Summer of 2005

Following up on my previous post, I digged out a gem:

While the link to the article isn't available any longer, a Jim Matheson article was found copied and pasted here

This is where, Kevin Lowe originally blew it, Smyth (29) in his prime at that point. At that point, you could offer him a 5 year deal and not worry about whether he'd be ineffective in years 4 and 5 of the contract. In other words, it would be akin to signing him to a 3 year contract in the Summer of 2007.

Veteran prefers long-term contract with locals to taking more cash on open market in 2006

Jim Matheson
The Edmonton Journal

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

EDMONTON - Oilers winger Ryan Smyth wants to have the security of a long-term contract, but he doesn't know whether he'd take a pay cut to stay in River City.

"Everybody knows I've bled Oiler blue and I'm happy playing in front of my family. I was was born and raised in Alberta," said Smyth, a native of Jasper.

"But I don't want to sell myself short. I just want fair market value."

Smyth, who turns 30 next February, has only played for one NHL team since the Oilers drafted him sixth overall in the 1994 entry draft. He has played 642 games -- No. 11 on the Oilers' most games played list. He's sixth in goals (198 ), eighth in points (430), and fifth in game-winners (32).

After seeing Bobby Holik depart the New Jersey Devils and get $4.25 million US to play with the Atlanta Thrashers and Paul Kariya leave the Colorado Avalanche for the Nashville Predators for $4.5 million this summer, Smyth could command $4 million on the open market next summer. He can become an unrestricted free-agent if he decides to sign the Oilers' one-year, $2.7-million US qualifying offer.

But, deep down, Smyth would rather have at least a three-year Oiler contract in his pocket.

"You're seeing a lot of different addresses with players this summer,' said Smyth, "but I'm pushing for a long-term contract here. They've talked about signing a one-year contract and negotiating on a longer deal during the season, but I'd rather not do that. It's a distraction.

"It's a team game when the season starts."

NHL clubs can't negotiate until Jan. 1 after players sign qualifying offers.

Smyth could eventually be history if he only signs the qualifying offer, however, but in his heart he doesn't want to leave.

"I've always been an Oiler and I can see our team being more than just a team that hopefully can make the playoffs.

"But I can see us going to a whole new level here," said Smyth. "I guess there's pressure on both sides. I can be unrestricted and that's a unique situation for a player. But I've enjoyed every moment as an Oiler. I'd like a long-term contract, I'd like the security for myself and my family.

"I think security is good for a player."

Smyth knows the clock's ticking, with training camp opening in two weeks.

"Last time I didn't have a contract going into camp, I took the physical, then (Oilers GM) Kevin Lowe said he wasn't going to let me skate without a contract," said Smyth.

"I'm hopeful something will get done before then."

Oiler assistant GM Scott Howson said Smyth "will be at camp. We have no indication from him that he won't sign the one-year deal before camp if we can't get a long-term contract done."

Smyth is one of the few high-profile Group 2 free agents who are unsigned with training camps just around the corner. Most players have taken the one-year qualifying offers rather than drag things out.

But few will be unrestricted next July.

Smyth, who led the Oilers with 59 points in 2003-2004 and is their first-line left-winger, has a feeling what he's worth.

In the eyes of the Oilers, however, that could be in the low.It wouldn't look good if the Oilers hosed Smyth, the player who has been their heart and soul for years, and then he takes the one year deal and signs with another team next season.

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