The Kings were finally able to accommodate the request of winger Ryan Smyth… (Photos by Robert Gauthier…)
After contentious negotiations, the Kings on Sunday traded Ryan Smyth to Edmonton for center Colin Fraser and a seventh-round pick in the 2012 entry draft, making the deal only after the Oilers removed oft-injured forward Gilbert Brule from consideration.
Fraser, a member of the Chicago Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup team, has a manageable $825,000 cap hit and will get a chance to win a job in training camp. The Kings planned to waive or buy out Brule, who hasn't been procedurally cleared to play after suffering a concussion. Brule's cap hit is $1.85 million.
"Fraser is a real hard-nosed player," Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said. "He brings character to your room and his price in terms of salary is certainly not prohibitive, so it's very different than the player they were talking about the day before in terms of allowing us to fill Smitty's hole.
"He doesn't fill Smitty's hole, but it's a serviceable player who doesn't command anywhere near what the other guy did."
Smyth, 35, scored 23 goals last season and has one season left with a cap hit of $6.25 million. His departure gives the Kings cap space to acquire a premier player through trade or free agency, but Lombardi said he's looking for "a mid-range guy" at the moment.
Smyth, who began his career in Edmonton and is a cult hero there, said he wanted to go home for lifestyle reasons. He said he was misquoted in a June 20 Edmonton Journal story in which he denied asking for a trade.
"I didn't want everything to explode to the level it did six weeks before the actual trade," he said. "I did request this for family reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment down there. It's a different lifestyle. I hope for nothing but the best for the Kings. The fans supported me well."
Fraser, 26, had only three goals and five points in 67 games last season. He said the Kings will be "a tough team to make," but he's eager to join players such as newly acquired Mike Richards.
"The first thing I thought of is how good the team is. It's a young team and knocking on the door to be one of the best teams in the league, if not the best," Fraser said.
Lombardi also said he plans to talk again this week with Don Meehan, the agent for restricted free-agent defenseman Drew Doughty. The NHL's free agency period begins Friday.
"It's safe to say at this stage at least now there's parameters in terms of numbers," Lombardi said.