EDMONTON - Ryan Smyth believes he still has game.
And while he may have lost a step or two over time, the Edmonton Oilers winger is not ready to be put to pasture.
“Absolutely, I feel healthy, I feel great physically,” said Smyth Sunday on locker cleanout day. “I know my speed isn’t the same at Taylor Hall’s, it never will be, it never was, but I’ve earned everything I’ve gotten in my career and I want to continue to earn the respect and the opportunity to help this team succeed.”
Smyth, 37, had his worse year statistically as a professional this season, scoring two goals and adding 11 assists in 47 games.
Last year, in his first season back with the Oilers, Smyth scored 19 goals and added 27 assists for 46 points in 82 games.
“Every player wants to go out and chip in offensively and help out any way that you can,” said Smyth. “I would have loved to chip in more offensively, but that happens sometimes. That’s unfortunate, but I’ll carry on and hopefully next year will be better.”
With the Oilers three years into their youth movement, Smyth’s role with the Oilers was always going to be vastly different in his second stint with the club.
The Banff product left Edmonton in 2007 as a first-line winger, but returned in 2011 as a bottom six forward. Smyth has one more year left on his contract with the Oilers.
“I was told right up front what my role was going to be,” Smyth said. “I don’t think it was expected for me to play centre, but they wanted me to be a guy that can lead by example, be an energy guy and help create momentum in a game. It’s not a role I am used to for sure, but I’m willing to help the team any way I can.”