Los Angeles Kings forward Ryan Smyth tries to score on Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in this file photo. Smyth is apparently on the verge of being traded from the Kings to the Edmonton Oilers, but Oilers GM general manager Steve Tambellini said the deal hasn't been completed yet.
Photograph by: Ted Jacob, Calgary Herald
ST. PAUL, Minnesota — While several sources say Ryan Smyth is coming back to the Edmonton Oilers for Gilbert Brule and a fifth-round draft pick, general manager Steve Tambellini refused to confirm it shortly after the first round of the NHL entry draft ended at the Xcel Energy Center Friday night.
“There’s nothing I can give you at this point,’’ said Tambellini.
“It’s not done. If I had something I’d give it to you.’’
The Los Angeles Times reported the Brule part of the equation in the deal for the Kings’ winger early in the evening from an impeccable source, saying Kings GM Dean Lombardi was trying to move the 24-year-old forward Brule and his $1.85 million contract to another unnamed club.
Lombardi said later there was a “snag’’ but nobody will say what that is, exactly. Neither Smyth nor agent Don Meehan immediately returned text messages.
The Kings didn’t want to add salary in a Smyth deal after he requested a trade for family reasons, hoping to return to Alberta. Lombardi talked to Tambellini and also Calgary GM Jay Feaster. The Flames went hard after Smyth in 2007 when he was a free agent, but Smyth signed in Colorado. He was moved to the Kings for Kyle Quincey and two other trade pieces in 2009, and was their leading playoff scorer after a 47-point season as a top six forward.
It’s no secret Smyth wants to play again for the Oilers, whom he suited up for 770 times. Oiler fans were burning up the chat lines and phone-in radio shows Friday, wanting Smyth’s No. 94 back on the Rexall Place ice after he was traded to the New York Islanders in 2007 over a money dispute.
Tambellini admitted “Ryan obviously was a strong Oiler but at this point there’s not much I can tell you.’’
Smyth has one year left on his Kings’ contract at a salary of $4.5 million and a salary cap hit of $6.25 million. Brule also has one year left. He’s been hampered with sickness the last two years, playing in only 106 of 164 games, but after a 17-goal season in 2009-10, he received a new two-year contract. The Oilers felt Brule had turned the corner and could be a solid third-liner but after missing so many games last year, his role on the team has diminished.
They likely see him as a fourth-line centre now.
Brule has had little good news on the ice, but when he stopped to pick up hitchhiking U2 superstar Bono in Vancouver, he became an Internet phenomenon.
Bono got him tickets for his show at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.
“I don’t know if I’ve had anything create that much (news) interest,’’ said Oilers’ director of public relations J.J. Hebert.
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