Captain Canada has agreed to stay put — on Canada Day.
That’s the word out of Edmonton today as the Oilers announced they’ve re-signed Ryan Smyth to a two-year, $4.5 million contract. The deal comes roughly an hour before Smyth was set to hit unrestricted free agency, a scenario neither the club nor 36-year-old forward wanted to unfold.
It was last July when Smyth forced a trade to Edmonton — from sunny Los Angeles, no less — and famously stated “I bleed Oiler blue.” That suggested Smyth was primed to finish his career in his beloved Oil Country, but that (potentially) happy ending hit a snag when the two sides were unable to come to terms during May/June negotiations.
Funny what deadlines can do.
As for the contract, the price and term seem to suggest the Oilers brought Smyth back for his veteran leadership abilities rather than offensive output.
He registered just 46 points in 2011-12 — his lowest total in four years — and projects to be in a third-line role behind young guns Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky.