Just a day after acquiring Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers, the Los Angeles Kings are active on the trade market again, dealing Left Winger Ryan Smyth to the Edmonton Oilers for Center/Winger Gilbert Brule and a fourth-round draft pick. This deal comes on the first day of the 2011 NHL Draft, which is taking place in St. Paul, Minneosta.
The trade will not become official until Smyth waves his no-trade clause, which may not be done for a couple days due to the NHL Draft. However, given Smyth’s interest in playing in Canada, it is inevitable that he will waive it.
This trade also comes just a few days after Ryan Smyth reportedly asked for a trade out of Los Angeles, citing disagreement with the Kings’ front office.
It is kind of bittersweet to deal Smyth, one of the Kings’ leading scorers since he was acquired prior to the 2009-2010 season. In his two seasons in Los Angeles, Smyth provided 100 points (45 G, 55 A), while also playing in all 82 games this season for the first time since 2000-2001.
However, Smyth realized that with the acquisition of Dustin Penner, the reemergence of Scott Parse and the potential of signing another top Left Winger, his days in Los Angeles were numbered.
Gilbert Brule, 24, was drafted sixth in the 2005 NHL Draft, five spots ahead of Kings’ Center Anze Kopitar. He has not produced as expected in the NHL, scoring only 81 points (38 G, 43 A) in 165 games over parts of six seasons. Brule’s best season was in 2009-2010 when he scored 17 goals in 65 games for the Oilers.
Brule recently has gained more publicity for his off-the-ice confrontation with singer Bono. Brule was driving with his girlfriend when the U2 lead singer was hitch-hiking on the side of the road. After picking up Bono, they were rewarded with tickets and backstage passes to his upcoming concert in Edmonton. During the concert, Bono thanked the couple while he was on stage.
Brule is expected to be a bottom line winger for the Kings, most likely sliding next to a combination of Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Richard Clune, Kevin Westgarth and Andrei Loktionov.
As a result of this trade, the Kings eliminated Smyth’s 6.25 million dollar salary-cap hit, while only absorbing Brule’s salary-cap hit of 1.85 million dollars. With this excess salary-cap space, the Kings will be aple to spend money on another top-six forward. Possibilities that have been floating around have been Brad Richards, Paul Stastny and Zach Parise.
The 2011 NHL Draft will continue through tommorow, with the Kings first pick coming at 49th Overall in the Second Round.