Hockey

Smyth gets his wish, heads back to Oilers

Longtime Oiler Ryan Smyth was officially traded back to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday from the Los Angeles Kings.

Longtime Oiler Ryan Smyth was officially traded back to Edmonton on Sunday from the Los Angeles Kings.

Edmonton sends forward Colin Fraser and a seventh round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft the other way.

Smyth, 35, left the Oilers late in the 2006-07 season after over a dozen years with the club. He then went on to play with the New York Islanders, Colorado and the Kings.

"My wife and I discussed for a little while that we wanted to come back to Canada for personal reasons," Smyth said. "That's where home is for us. The kids are starting out in school. We just felt it would be best for us to come back."

Smyth scored 23 goals and 24 assists in 82 games last season with Los Angeles, with nine power-play markers. He also marked his 1,000th game in the NHL in November.

"I still have a lot to offer," Smyth said. "I felt great last year. I felt like I was a little kid again. I stayed healthy, which was the number one thing. I just want to bring my leadership and wherever [Oilers head coach] Tom [Renney] and the coaching staff want me to play I'll play."

For his career, he's compiled 355 goals and 405 assists in 1,069 games, with 810 penalty minutes. During his time in Edmonton, he scored 265 goals and added 284 assists.

He will represent a salary cap hit of $6.25 million US for the Oilers and is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2012.

Deal scuttled

The two clubs had been endeavouring to do a deal for the past few days after Smyth requested a trade, reportedly with a preference to return to Alberta. An earlier transaction that would have seen forward Gilbert Brule head to California was scuttled, reportedly due to concerns over Brule's health. He dealt with a few injuries the past season, including a concussion.

Smyth joins an Oilers team that is going in a different direction to the one he left in 2007.

"When we left it was the year [after] we went to the cup. We lost Prongs [Chris Pronger] and then it just started to filter on after that," he said. "I see a huge upside. Obviously with the new draftees, Taylor Hall. Really exciting. [Jordan] Eberle. I just see a huge tremendous upside."

Smyth, who has played on the Canadian Olympic team twice and has represented Canada at the World Championships seven times, will bring his own brand of leadership to the young Oilers.

"What I've experienced along the way in my journey is a tremendous amount," Smyth said.

"I've been fortunate and blessed to play on the Olympics a couple times around, the world championships, a run to the Stanley Cup. I've been around the Lemieuxs, the Gretzkys, the Yzermans. I've hung around those type of players and seen what they bring on a consistent basis.

"It's all about how you come to the rink and how you execute as a hockey player. Just how you compete. Sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you act. Just going out and playing and being yourself."

Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said part of the reason the team acquired Smyth was to help Edmonton's younger players in their development.

"You need people that are respectful of these young players," Tambellini said. "You need people that are encouraging as far as their development. You need people that want to share in their success. There's extreme passion there in Ryan Smyth."

While the 35-year-old is approaching the end of his career, thoughts of retirement are "way farfetched."

The 26-year-old Fraser leaves Edmonton after one season, in which he scored three goals and two assists with 60 penalty minutes. He came to the Oilers after beginning his career with the Chicago Blackhawks.

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