Load up for the Stanley Cup Playoff push
Ryan Smyth, the NHL All-Star, known as Captain Canada to fans and media north of the border, is now a member of the New York Islanders.
The Islanders acquired Smyth from the Edmonton Oilers this afternoon for prospect forwards Ryan O'Marra, Robert Nilsson and a 2007 first round draft selection. In 53 games this season with the Oilers this season, the 6-1, 190-pound wing has 31 goals and 22 assists.
"Ryan Smyth is a premier NHL player," said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "The New York Islanders are proud to have Ryan become a member of our organization."
Smyth has played in 770 regular season NHL games over his 12-year career, all with the Oilers. He has recorded 265 goals and 284 assists for 549 points. Last season, Smyth played in 24 playoff games for the Oilers during their run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals and recorded seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. Smyth joins recent additions Marc-Andre Bergeron, a recent teammate of Smyth's in Edmonton, and Richard Zednik.
"We created some flexibility earlier in the season with a pair of trades and we said our goal was to be buyers," said Snow. "We kept this team together and added Ryan Smith, Bergeron and Zednik without taking anyone off the team."
Smyth represented the Oilers at the All-Star Game in Dallas last month and won a Gold Medal with Canada at 2002 Winter Olympic Games. In his international career, Smyth has represented Canada at seven World Championships, at the 2005 World Cup of Hockey and also at the 2006 Winter Olympics. He was also named to the WHL's 1994-95 East Second All-Star Team. Smyth was originally drafted by Edmonton in the first round, sixth overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.
Nilsson was drafted by the Islanders in the first round, 15th overall, of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent the entire 2006-07 season n Bridgeport (AHL) and played in 53 NHL games last season , scoring six goals with 14 assists for 20 points. O'Marra was taken by the Islanders in the first round, 15th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and is currently with Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League .
"I know the coaching staff and the players in our room are exhilerated by the news of us getting Ryan Smyth," Islnders coach Ted Nolan told reporters prior to tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. "We believe in our team. You could say the players earned this through their hard work since the beginning of camp. We owed it to them to field the best team we could for the playoff push. I can't tell you how happy I am to be part of a team where you have an owner like Charles Wang who does everything he can to bring a Stanley Cup to Long Island. And I give a lot of high marks to Garth Snow for making an unbelieveable deal.
"You always have to give to get," continued Nolan, "and we definitely said goodbye today to a pair of great kids in Robert and Ryan. I have a lot of respect for both of them and will be rooting for them as they continue their careers in Edmonton. We feel fortunate to have Ryan Smyth in our lineup and the Oilers can say the same about Robert and Ryan."