Does it add up?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

Craig MacTavish is left scratching his head.

While the Edmonton Oilers head coach completely understands and supports Kevin Lowe's decision to deal Ryan Smyth, MacTavish is surprised his star player is gone.

"It doesn't entirely add up," said MacTavish yesterday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after one of the most historic deals in franchise history.

"But it is hockey.

"And these things have a way of sorting themselves out.

"And hopefully this will be one of those instances where it will sort itself out."

According to sources, the Oilers offered Smyth $5.4 million US a season. But, he wanted something in the area of $5.5 million US.

When a new contract couldn't be reached, Lowe shipped Smyth to the New York Islanders for two prospects and a first-round draft pick.

To MacTavish, he had been holding out hope that Lowe and Smyth's agent Don Meehan would reach a new deal.

'VERY FAIR'

"I really felt that at the end of the day it was a contract that was very fair and it was an offer that would afford Ryan a lot of the things he coveted: to stay in the city, paid commensurate to his abilities and be respected," said MacTavish.

"At the end of the day I was very surprised that Ryan turned it down," MacTavish added.

But MacTavish understands Lowe's decision to ship his top goal scorer and the heart and soul of his locker room to the other side of the continent.

MAKING SENSE

"At the same time from the organization's perspective the deal makes sense in a lot of ways," continued the head coach.

"Tough and difficult decisions have to be made.

"You can certainly understand the organization's side.

"I agree with it."

MacTavish practically applauded Lowe for having the intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger on one of the most unpopular trades in franchise history.

"He has got plenty of courage," said MacTavish.

"You have to trust your instincts."


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