CALGARY - When Ryan Smyth was a free-agent and taking bids for his services in the summer of 2007, the Calgary Flames were an ardent pursuant.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla even personally talked to Smyth to sell him on moving to Southern Alberta.
Then-GM Darryl Sutter also called Smyth directly, on top of dealing with his agent, Don Meehan.
But it was to no avail at the time. Smyth signed with the Colorado Avalanche, inking a five-year contract with a US$6.25-million cap hit.
Could the long-time Edmonton Oilers forward be making his way to the Stampede City now?
Smyth has reportedly asked to be traded from the Kings with one year remaining on his contract and wants to land back in Edmonton, but a source confirmed yesterday the Flames are also in the mix for the 35-year-old left winger.
The level of interest from the Flames is the great unknown.
On one hand, itís easy to dismiss the Flames being in the fray as simply a tactic being used by the Kings to make Oilers GM Steve Tambellini move faster in closing a deal everybody expects to happen.
Or itís to try raising the asking price, although the Kings arenít in a position of strength when itís out that a player has asked to be moved, especially with his age, salary cap hit and diminishing production.
(Of course, the Oilers probably owe the Kings a big favour after foisting Dustin Penner on them at the deadline and even receiving defenceman Colten Teubert, a first-round pick at this yearís draft and another draft choice in return, but thatís another story.)
On the other hand, the Flames could have some solid reasons for making a trade to bring in Smyth.
For starters, if Alex Tanguay isnít going to come to terms on a new contract and leave via free agency on July 1, the Flames will be looking for another left winger to play in the top three lines.
Right now, the only left wingers with any proven scoring ability are Curtis Glencross, who is coming off the first 20-goal season of his career, and Niklas Hagman, whose scoring touch hasnít followed him to Calgary from Toronto.
Smyth did go through a slump last season in which he scored just one goal in 24 games down the stretch, and ended the season with
23 goals and 47 points, but somewhat acquitted himself by netting two goals and five points in six playoff games.
Plus, heíd be that net presence on the powerplay this team hasnít had in seemingly a generation.
If the Kings were willing to take a contract in return, even to bury it in the minors ó for example, Ales Kotalik and his $3-million anchor ó it would serve the Flames well to consider a deal.
With a team thatís missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, facing a potential scoring shortfall and needing to do something bold to turn its fortunes, Flames GM Jay Feaster should be intrigued by any potential addition.
Whether he really needs Ryan Smyth at this point of his career is certainly questionable, but thereís no harm in kicking the tires.
It doesnít mean the Flames have to make a purchase.