“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

July 3, 2007

Ryan Smyth Is Not Hockey Jesus



Though he shares a striking resemblance in the hair department (blessed be thy mullet), Ryan Smyth is not the second coming of Christ on ice. In fact, he's not even a superstar in the traditional vein of superstar hockey players. He's no Dany Heatley. He's no Alexander Ovechkin. He's not even Daniel Sedin.

But you wouldn't know that if you just read Colorado Avalanche fan message boards for info. Or looked at Smyth's contract---which involves him being paid more than $6 million a year for a very long time.

Ryan Smyth is a down-low, in-the-slot grinder who specializes in tip-in shots and goalie screens. He's gritty and offensively gifted, and has great "hockey sense", but he's not a winger in the style of Teemu Selanne, the speedy, nimble sharpshooter who can score from anywhere on the ice. For an Avalanche example of that type of winger, Milan Hejduk (in his prime) comes immediately to mind.

Ryan Smyth is not that kind of guy. In fact, he's not all that statistically impressive in general:



He's never scored more than 70 points in a season, and in his 11-year career, he's only scored more than 30 goals four times. If he's worth $6 million just based on statistics alone, it's not hard to imagine somebody like Sidney Crosby earning $15 million when his contract with the Penguins eventually comes up for renegotiation. Maybe that's okay in baseball, but it can't work in the NHL.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Ryan Smyth and think he'll make an excellent addition to the Avalanche roster, especially on a line with Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk. Each player brings a different, complimentary style of play to the ice, and combined they could do a lot of damage (in theory, of course). But Smyth is not the best player in the NHL. He's a great leader, a gritty winger, and generally a good person to have in a locker room. Just don't get any ideas that he'll be vying for the Art Ross Trophy at the end of next season, or that the Avalanche will instantly become a Cup contender the second he steps on the ice.

His mullet, however, is unparalleled.

10 comments:

hockeychic said...

You make a very good point. It isn't like the Avs just signed a player of the Ovechkin/Crosby mold. Yes, Smyth will help the Avs and provide a much needed presence in front of the net but he is getting a Sakic like salary.

I thought the whole reason we had no NHL hockey for a season was to reign in the salaries. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

It makes you wonder if there will be another lockout in the near future. I second your comments about the Avs board. Its been quite nutty there over the past few days. What I find especially humorous is that some members are still calling to sign more free agents.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

It's become obvious to me that the average age on the Avs.com message board is around 14.

Jibblescribbits said...

It's not the average age.. just the average intelligence.

I've always said the best way to ruin something great is to visit the official forums. Works with video games, avalanche etc.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

Movies, music, books, magazines, and on and on and on. There is little value to message boards at all it seems.

ian said...

Yeah, but the Avs scored a ton of goals last year. We don't need Sydney Crosby or Ovechkin. The problem was horrible defensive lapses in the final 10 minutes of games. Hopefully Hannan is that good.

Anonymous said...

music forums are good for finding live show traders.

Draft Dodger said...

no, definitely not hockey jesus, but the best fit for the Avs.

I've seen the 70-point argument made elsewhere, and I think you "get" that that that misses the point for a player like Smyth. His job is to score goals. A successful season for a player like him is 30 goals - if he does that, it will help a great deal

Dear Lord Stanley said...

No argument there, I'm just wary of the general attitude that Smyth is the end-all-be-all of hockey players. Also, I don't think he deserves $6 million a year.

But yes, he remains extremely talented and more or less exactly what the Avs can use on the first or second line. He should fit in very well.

Christopher said...

Great post. I would totally agree with you w/ most of your points. I think what everyone here is missing, though, is they're setting up Smyth to replace Sakic when he retires, which will probably be within the next 3 or 4 seasons.

Like you said, he's a leader. He's not a magnificent goal scorer, but you can still count on him to make a sizable contribution in the scoring department.

I don't know this first hand, but I've heard he's an outstanding play maker. Couple that with a major commitment to the team (w/ the 5 year contract and large salary) and you have a solid, franchise player/ leader. The Avs could still use a solid goaltender (really pushing for Budaj!!) and maybe one more star scorer, (or maybe just Hejduk and Svatos picking up their slack) and we've got ourselves a serious Cup contender.

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