2008 Final Grade: Ryan Smyth

2008 Final Grade: B-

2007 Grade: N/A

Links:

{{smyth}} (hockey-reference page)

2008 ITCS (aka highly unofficial) Smyth game log

Season Stats: 55gp 14g 23a 37pt -4

Minutes: 1,0788.8 (5th), EV 15:15, PP 3:54, PK :29, ATOI 19:37

1st Half: 36gp 11g 17a 28pt -5

2nd Half: 19gp 3g 6a 9pt +1

Playoffs: 8gp 2g 3a 5pt -1

Best Month: December (12gp 5g 9a 14pt +4)

Positions: LW (55)

Lines: 1st (30), 2nd (13), 3rd (12)

Linemates: Smyth season log

C: Stastny (29), Arnason (11), Sakic (10), Hensick (3), Guite (1), Hlinka (1)

RW: Hejduk (33), Svatos (11), Jones (5), Brunette (2), McLeod (2), Hensick (1), Laperriere (1)

Season: Smyth's 37 points were his lowest season total since 1998. Over his career, Smyth has averaged about 12 pp goals per year. Last year, he had 2 - the 2nd lowest output of his career.

Report: I know there were a few folks happy to see Joel Quenneville move on, and I'd venture that Ryan Smyth was probably one of them. Smyth never really seemed comfortable in his first year in Denver. Like everyone on the team, Smyth was bounced from line to line and from partner to partner - his longest stretch with the same linemates was 9 games. I personally was expecting Smyth to be a major force in front of the other team's net, but that never really materialized. Was that coaching? Was it because our point guys don't shoot well? Was it Smyth? Frankly, I don't have the answer, but he certainly wasn't as effective with his game pushed to the sides of the net (and behind it). I think the effort was there, but he didn't have the points to show for it. Several nights he was one of the best players on the ice, but that wasn't reflected on the scoresheet. On October 16th he threw 11 shots at the Calgary Flames, and had just a goal to show for it. On December 5th, he had 8 shots against the Blue Jackets. No goals (3 assists, though, and that was also was one of the few games he got under the skin of the opposing goalie). February 27th: 6 shots, no goals. I don't think any member of the team was more disappointing on the PP than Smyth - his 8 points in 214 minutes was anemic with a capital "nee". One of Tony Granto's biggest challenges in 2008-09 will be to improve the powerplay, and finding a way to get Smyth in front of the net instead of behind it would be a great start. Smyth wasn't used a ton on the penalty kill (29 seconds per game), but he was effective; only Stastny and Jaroslav Hlinka had a better rate of goals allowed per 60 minutes.

Fast Fact: The line of Stastny, Smith and Hejduk contributed an even strength point in 20 of the 25 games together. The trio scored 27 even strength goals in those 25 games.

2007-2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $7,500,000 ($6,250,000)

2008-2009 Status: Smyth is signed through the next 4 seasons. He and John-Michael Liles are the only two Avs currently locked up for that long.

Outlook: $6.25 million is a lot of money to pay for 37 points, and already there's some grumbling in, um, ‘Lancheland, about his contract. I thought Smyth was a perfect addition to the team and could put up 40 goals in the ugly Avalanche uniform. I still think he can do that. He played well - but not often enough - with Stastny and Hejduk. If Smyth can stay healthy (not a given) and if Granato can turn around the powerplay (not a given, but it can't get worse) and if we move away from the simple cycle game (I sure hope so), Smyth has a chance to rebound with a big, big year. Even a slightly better year would be a big help to the team.

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