Ryan Smyth isn’t getting any younger, a fact emphasized on a young, upstart Edmonton Oilers team.
The 37-year-old Smyth is entering the final year of his two-year contract with Edmonton, which will pay him $2.25 million for this upcoming season. He is coming off a tough year, offensively, after producing only two goals and 13 points in 47 regular season games.
Once the heart and soul of the Oilers, Smyth is now the aging veteran on a team full of youth and talent, as in the case with players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
Given his age and declining offensive production, there were suggestions this spring – as pointed out Jonathan Willis in a blog post for the Edmonton Journal – that the Oilers should buy Smyth out of the remaining year of his contract.
With training camp on the horizon, it will be interesting to see what role Smyth fits into.
“Whatever the coaches have planned for myself, for the team. Whatever is best for the team,” Smyth told Sportsnet.
“Obviously I want to be an asset and help, whether it’s offensively chipping in or keeping the pucks out of our end.”
For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.
The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.
They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.
It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)
Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.
This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: