Wings and Predators were highest on Smyth

With Ryan Smyth off the trade table, Detroit and Nashville can’t be happy.

They were both hot to trot for Smyth, especially the Predators who are dying for a top six forward, especially one with net presence. Nashville likes Ales Hemsky, too, but liked Smyth more, in large part because coach Barry Trotz has a history with the Edmonton Oilers’ winger from the world championship when he was a coach for Canada. The Red Wings have Tomas Holmstrom, a similar type, antagonistic player around the crease, but Homer, who just got honoured for playing 1000 NHL games, is on his last legs and is basically a fourth-line, PP guy now.

The Oilers like rookie defenceman Ryan Ellis, a lot, in Nashville. There’s a slight chance he might have been in play for Smyth. Not for Hemsky, even if he’s younger, because they liked Smyth more. Realistically, Ellis, who helped set up Jordan Eberle’s epic, last-gasp tying goal against the Russians in the world junior in Ottawa a few years, isn’t readily available for anybody because they aren’t sure if they can resign UFA defenceman Ryan Suter. But the Oilers, and everybody else, see the inherent value in an offensive D-man like Ellis.

Now, what do the Oilers give Smyth in a new contract? And for how long?

I suspect Smyth, who is tied for third in team scoring (36 points) but mired in a scoring slump with only one goal in the last 17 games, would like three years. The Oilers might like to keep it year-to-year like Detroit does with older players like Todd Bertuzzi. So, saw it off. Two years for Smyth, who turns 36 next Tuesday.