Ryan Smyth traded to the Oilers for basically a draft pick

Ryan Smyth is about to test the theory that you can’t go home again.

In a deal that came together after the Calgary Flames are believed to have entered the race, the Oilers agreed to send Gilbert Brule and a fourth round draft pick to the Kings in exchange for Captain Canada.

Brule, a center, is under contract for one more year and is most likely headed to Manchester next season or will bought out.  He was a first round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets back in 2005 and was traded to the Oilers in 2008.

At this point, his talents – even though seven goals in 41 games last season aren’t bad numbers – are probably not enough to crack the roster in Los Angeles. Thus, all of Smyth’s salary comes off the books and frees up GM Dean Lombardi‘s budget just a week before NHL free agency opens up next Friday.

Smyth, a left wing, was a top goal and point producer for the Kings this season.  So, his departure creates a real hole in coach Terry Murray’s offense.  Expect the Kings to be active in the weeks to come while looking for a solution.

The fourth round draft pick is probably still in play too. They don’t call him ‘Dealer Dean’ for nothing. Past drafts suggest at some point Lombardi will package two picks to move up and grab a player he really wants.

With the Kings not having a first rounder tonight – and not expected to go after one – most of their draft related news is expected to come tomorrow morning during rounds two through seven.

For a look back at key moments in Smyth’s career – including his very first NHL game, played between the Oilers and Kings at the Forum in Inglewood – check out this article I did with him earlier this season.

[update:  Although neither team has confirmed the trade yet, Don Meehan (Smyth’s agent) confirmed it to Yahoo Sports Canada]

{update 2: There are a variety of issues holding up this deal. Brule’s health, the draft pick coming to LA, etc. Also, some are reporting that Calgary has re-entered the race. Smyth did agree to waive his no-trade clause yesterday to go to Edmonton.  It’s not known at this time if he also agreed to any deal involving Calgary.  Stay tuned.]

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