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Numbers Game: Kings Add Smyth

Scott Cullen
7/6/2009 8:11:18 PM
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The Los Angeles Kings acquired a proven veteran forward to help their talented young team take the next step.

Numbers Game looks at the addition of Ryan Smyth.

The Kings Get: LW Ryan Smyth.

Smyth, 33, was the leading scorer for the Avalanche last season with 59 points, the ninth straight season in which he's scored more than 50 points and it was the ninth time in his 13 NHL seasons that he scored at least 20 goals.

The Kings only had three players top 20 goals last season, so Smyth's presence as a top-six forward will surely add some offence.

Smyth's minus-15 rating was the second-worst mark of his career, but that is largely attributable to Colorado's stuggles as a team last season and the fact that Smyth logged more than 20 minutes per game.

While Smyth is certainly capable of being a valuable contributor,  and it sure doesn't hurt the Kings any that he's a natural left winger, he shouldn't be playing that much in Los Angeles, where Anze Kopitar was the only forward to actually play more minutes per game than Smyth in 2008-2009.

Smyth has three years and $18.75-million remaining on his contract, so he'll need to be a productive player in order to justify that kind of financial commitment, but in terms of actual money, Smyth is owed $16.5-million over the next three years, so he does come at somewhat of an actual cost (vs. salary cap cost) discount. 

If all goes well, Smyth could be a 60-70-point guy for the next couple seasons, playing alongside Kopitar.  A more reasonable expectation, however, is that Smyth could skate with Jarret Stoll on the second line and be a 50-60 point producer and, while that would be adequate, that's a lot of money to pay for those scoring numbers.

The Avalanche Get: D Kyle Quincey, D Tom Preissing and a fifth-round pick.

After spending a few seasons unsuccessfully trying to crack the Detroit Red Wings' lineup, 23-year-old Kyle Quincey was a revelation for the Kings last season after he was picked up on waivers from Detroit, scoring 27 of his career-best 38 points on the power play.

For a Colorado power play that ranked 25th in the league last season, it won't hurt to add another defenceman who is capable of handling the puck and Quincey is a certifiable bargain at $525,000 this season.  He'll be a restricted free agent at season's end, but is likely going to be an inexpensive top-four defenceman for several seasons.

Preissing, 30, endured a miserable season in 2008-2009, playing just 22 games thanks to a reported bout with vertigo as well being a healthy scratch at times.

Preissing's two seasons in Los Angeles were forgettable and he has two years and $5.5-million left on his contract, which could make him a buyout candidate, but if he's healthy, the savvy Colorado College grad's ability to move the puck could earn him a regular spot on the Avalanche blueline.
 
The fifth-round pick from the Kings isn't great value, with only 10-15 percent of players drafted in that range managing to make the NHL, but it's better than the zero percent that the Avalanche would get without the pick.

Even before the Avalanche unloaded Smyth they were going to need to add some forwards and this move only makes it more necessary, though their improved blueline depth does allow the possibility of moving a veteran defenceman in order to acquire at least some of that forward help.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca




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