Smyth’s demand to be traded to Oilers hurts in contract talks

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Ryan Smyth is coming off a five-year/$31.25 million contract and it’s safe to say he’ll be taking a sizable a pay cut next season. There’s a number of reasons for that, one being that Smyth already showed the Oilers’ his hand when he demanded to be traded to them before the start of the 2011-12 season so that he could finish his career with Edmonton.

“Yeah, I have painted myself into a corner, if you want to say that,” said Smyth. “I came back to this organization because of the history I have with it, but also the direction that they’re going … that said I still feel I have a lot to give.”

Of course, even if you shrug off his earlier comments or he decides that he’s willing to play for any team in the NHL, he’s not going to find another employer that’s willing to give him a $6.25 million annual cap hit. He was coming off back-to-back 36-goal seasons when he inked that deal and while he’s right when he says that he has something left to give, it’s not another season like that. At this stage of Smyth’s career, he’s more of a secondary scorer and veteran presence that can guide the Oilers’ young core.

That’s worth something to the Oilers, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve already offered him a two-year extension, but it appears that there’s still a gap between the two sides. Still, there’s plenty of time to work out a deal and if Smyth is adamant about staying with the Oilers, it doesn’t seem like that will be a problem.