Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Ryan Smyth Trade - Cellar Dwellers Exchange Players, Promise To Meet At Bottom of Standings

The title is perhaps a bit snarky, but considering the Avs finished last in their conference and the Kings next to last, it is still fitting.

Kings Receive:

LW Ryan Smyth

Colorado Receives:

D Kyle Quincey
D Tom Priessing
5th Round Pick in 2010

Kings' Take

LW Ryan Smyth

Age: 33 (34 in February 2010)
Contract Status: Signed through 2011-12
Cap Hit: $6.25 million
Durability: Medium-Low
Discipline: Medium-Low (26 minors, T-21st among LW)
Ice Time: Very High (5th among LW)

Expected Goals: 33

Smyth presents an interesting paradox for Expected Goals - he recorded the highest S/G of his career last season, while recording a below-average shooting percentage. His 2007-08 season, his first with the Avs, was similar. This suggests that with the injuries to Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny, Smyth was expected to be the leader of the Avs' offense. It should be interesting to see how all these things intersect - the fact that Smyth's shooting % the first two post-lockout years was around 16.5%, and was 9.4% his two seasons in Colorado, his aging, and the fact that he is going to a team where he will have more talented offensive players around him. Smyth's shooting percentage has declined like other power play mavens such as Jonathan Cheechoo and Brian Gionta - it will be interesting if it can rise up once again.

His expected goals are somewhat immaterial, as they are in an 82 game season - Smyth has played one of these since 2001-02. Regardless, Smyth is a supposed leader and will be a strong veteran voice on a team that lacks them.

Colorado's Take

D Kyle Quincey

Age: 23 (24 in August)
Contract Status: Signed through 2009-10, RFA
Cap Hit: $525,000
Durability: Unknown
Discipline: Medium-Low (41st among D in Minor Penalties)
Time On Ice: Medium (90th among D)

Quincey is the jewel of this deal - picked up by the Kings on waivers, he went on to quarterback their power play, scoring 38 points in the process. His cap hit is insanely low until next season, so Colorado may not be his final stop - a team may well dump valuable assets on the Avs to have such an excellent contract.

D Tom Preissing

Age: 30 (31 in December)
Contract Status: Signed through 2010-11, UFA
Cap Hit: $2.75M
Durability: Medium-Low
Discipline: Very High
Time On Ice: Low (178th among Defensemen)

Preissing was a +40 with 38 points for the 2007 Senators, but the market was not exactly fooled by it - he signed a 4 year, 11 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Kings, where he proceeded to not be very good. Preissing takes very few minor penalties, surely a feather in his cap, but he appears to provide little value beyond that - he isn't a first-rate power play quarterback, and his ice time indicates he has little value in penalty-killing.

Salary Cap Motivations

Los Angeles

The Kings made a great trade, in theory. They got rid of Tom Preissing's useless contract in a trade for an ostensible asset, something GMs dream about. They sold high on Kyle Quincey, a player whom they picked up for free but who would no doubt cost significant money next off-season when he is arbitration-eligible, and who blocks several young defenseman the Kings will have joining their ranks soon. Instead of waiting for this eventuality, the Kings struck first. It's also worth noting that Quincey's NHL season was much better than any of his AHL seasons statistically, something which screams fluke. Unfortunately, when a team gives up these sorts of assets, what they get back in return can't often be a large boon - while Smyth fills a large hole on their top line, his contract runs through 2012, when Smyth will be 36. 'Power forwards' rarely have a good end to their career, so it is possible that Smyth's $6.25M cap hit will be a large liability two seasons hence.


They get rid of one bad deal, pick up a great one (for this season), and are forced to take on a poor one as well. Preissing's deal expires in 2011, and with the Avs having 3 UFA defenders in 2010, all of whom should be sent away by the trade deadline, it is nice to have a player who can at least eat up some minutes on the backline. With Quincey, Preissing, Liles, and Hannan, the Avs have four NHL veterans signed through next season. The Avs also save $3 million this season, money which is no doubt valuable for a team going nowhere to weather the poor attendance surely coming.

Final Thoughts

The Kings pick up a piece to help them contend for the playoffs, but who may impinge on their Stanley Cup hopes three seasons down the road. The Avs get cheaper and younger.

1 comment:

  1. It was an interesting deal for the reasons stated. The Kings acquired a solid veteran who can score those garbage goals. Smyth should be good for 28-32 this season. But as noted, his grinding style makes him a risk. Esp taking on that salary.

    But LA used their chips knowing full well they had a lot of depth on the back end with Johnson ready to assume more of a role and former first rounders Teubert and Hickey. So, they used an asset and dumped a waste of a contract.

    Colorado gets Quincey, who can help out Liles with the PP. Whether he continues his upswing remains a question. Not a bad deal for either side.