ST. PAUL, Minnesota — In the wake of dealing for centre Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi says he’s trading winger Ryan Smyth in the next day or so.
Smyth is likely to go to one of the two Alberta National Hockey League teams — his original club, the Edmonton Oilers, or the Calgary Flames, which would be close to where Smyth grew up in Banff.
Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times he’d like to wrap it up soon and that Smyth asked for a trade six weeks ago. He said there was a front-runner, with only two clubs in the hunt and was close to a deal.
The feeling is the Kings would take a draft pick for Smyth, who wants to get back to Alberta because of family issues.
It’s not like the Kings want to rid themselves of Smyth’s $6.25-million US salary-cap hit and $4.5-million salary. They aren’t looking to make a big hockey deal here. They’re trying to help Smyth out.
The Oilers have two third-round draft picks (one they got from Calgary for defenceman Steve Staios). One of those picks (either No. 62 or No. 74) might be in play for a trade.
There have also been suggestions that the Oilers might try to move Gilbert Brule’s $1.85-million contract, which has a year remaining, because they are deep at forward.
The Oilers, who know how popular Smyth is in Edmonton, are interested. However, in their development stage, they have to be careful what they give up for the 35-year-old winger.
Obviously, a chunk of the Oilers’ fan base would welcome getting Smyth back after his unsettling trade in 2007 over money issues. He played 770 games for the Oilers before he was dealt to the New York Islanders.
The Oilers have lots of cap room to add Smyth, who could be a mentor for the young players.
The Flames, who are having trouble resigning free-agent winger Alex Tanguay, might see Smyth as a nice replacement. He’s played with Calgary captain Jarome Iginla on Olympic teams.
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