When Ryan Smyth returned to the Edmonton Oilers last season, he was intent on staying put. What he needed was a new contract, but contract discussions between the Oilers and their 1994 draft pick have never been expeditious. It wasn't until the free-agent market was about to open that the two sides finally reached an agreement that will see Smyth remain an Oiler for another two years. He'll get $2.25 million a season, which is a significant drop from the $4.5 million he made in 2011-12, but better structured for the role the 36-year-old veteran will play. "I wouldn't have taken the deal if I wasn't OK with it, but I feel there's tremendous upside in the team, particularly with the acquisition of (defenceman Justin Schultz and first-round pick Nail Yakupov). He seems to be excited and ready and willing to be a part of it," said Smyth. "For a team to be successful, everybody has to identify their role and accept it. You have to find a way to be a piece of the puzzle. "I still have one thing missing and that's a Stanley Cup, and there'd be no better place to do that than in Edmonton." Head coach Ralph Krueger said on Sunday that he had discussions with Smyth about playing a more versatile role rather regular top-six minutes. "He understands he's not only here as a player, but as a person who needs to help us guide the young players we have in the lineup," Krueger said. "We've really had good conversations about that and he's very, very comfortable with the way we see his role.
Ryan Smyth accepts new deal, new role with Oilers
Edmonton Journal | Jul 2