Edmonton Oilers: Is Ryan Smyth Much More Than Wasted Space?

Ryan Smyth

Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Recent years have seen the Edmonton Oilers stockpile young talent, as their consecutive seasons of futility have allowed them to pick at or near the top of the draft board each summer. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any sort of veteran presence on this team, though, as the Oilers do still employ an old dog or two.

One of their aging players is that of Ryan Smyth, who has managed to stick with the Oilers in these last few years despite not adding much to what they’ve managed to achieve on the ice, which hasn’t been much. Still, with the Oilers aiming to contend in 2013-14, is there even a place for Smyth?

Smyth isn’t costing much for the Oilers, as he’ll only cost them $2.25 million in ’13-’14. He heads into the new season with questions about what his role may actually be for the Oilers. Those questions go as far as asking whether or not he’ll even be a regular in the lineup.

Appearing in 47 of 48 games last season, Smyth contributed 13 points to the effort in the shortened 2013 season, only two of which came via putting the puck in the net. He played barely over 15 minutes per game, but was still a key figure on the penalty kill, playing over 2:30 per game shorthanded.

Heading into the 2013-14 season, Smyth comes in essentially buried on the depth chart. He’ll likely play on the third line at the very highest, but could also be a guy that the Oilers rotate in and out of the lineup. It was already obvious that his best days were behind him, but he could see himself phased out of the Oilers’ attack by the time it’s all said and done in 2013-14. He still has value as a leader in a young locker room, but doesn’t add much to the mix offensively.

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