A report on TSN.ca came out today indicating that Ryan Smyth has informed the Los Angeles Kings that he wants to return to Edmonton so he can finish his career with the Oilers, the team he started his NHL career with back in 1994.
Although it may be ideal for the 35-year-old to finish things up where it all started, a move might not be as easy it Smyth would like.
For the Edmonton Oilers, they're in the middle of a serious rebuilding mode so the notion of acquiring the native of nearby Banff would be a wise sentimental move, it may not complement the direction this young team is heading in.
For the Kings, trading such a key piece to their offense would have to come at the right price and it doesn't look as if the Oilers have much they're willing to give up because, let's be honest, as far as Hall, Eberle, Gagner and Cogliano go, there's no way that Oilers' GM Steve Tambellini would trade away any of them - and you can forgot about the first-overall pick in next weekend's draft, of course. With all due respect to Smyth, Tambellini will be wise not to trade any of his deep assets for the services of a player whose in the twilight of his career.
Then, there's the financial picture. Smyth is heading into the final year of his contract where he will make $6.25 million, a number that might be a little too step for Edmonton, even with the league salary-cap increasing to an estimated $5 million for the 2011-12 season.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has never been hasty to make a trade and this is no exception. Ryan Smyth may prefer to play the upcoming season as an Edmonton Oiler but, like it or not, that should not be a priority for Dean Lombardi right now as he still has a bevy of restricted free agents to accommodate, not to mention the draft next weekend and the unrestricted free-agency period, which will commence on July 1.
For now, Ryan Smyth should prepare for the coming season without worrying about which team he will be playing for. If Smyth really wants to return to Edmonton, I'm sure Dean Lombardi will find a way to make that way - but only if it benefits his team and not Smyth.
This news is obviously still very preliminary so we'll have to wait and see as to what happens next, if anything, with Smyth and the Kings.