Young Kings bolster lineup with Smyth

Updated: July 4, 2009, 12:51 AM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

The Los Angeles Kings have acquired veteran winger Ryan Smyth from the Colorado Avalanche.

[+] EnlargeRyan Smyth
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesRyan Smyth could have used his no-trade right to block a move to L.A., but said he and his family were "really excited about going down there."

The Avalanche acquired defensemen Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing and a fifth-round pick in 2010 in exchange for the gritty power forward. Smyth had to waive his no-trade clause to accept the trade.

"We are pleased to be adding two quality NHL defensemen," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said in a statement. "Kyle and Tom are both versatile players who can contribute at both ends. They will add defensive depth to our lineup."

Smyth, known as "Captain Canada" for his lengthy international experience, is in the third year of a five-year, $31.25 million deal he signed with Colorado in the summer of 2007. He has an annual cap hit of $6.25 million.

The Banff, Alberta native finished last season with 26 goals and 59 points, but was minus-15 on an Avalanche team that tied with Dallas for the most goals allowed in the Western Conference.

"Obviously I'm disappointed leaving the Avalanche in the fact Denver is a great city and the team has a winning tradition and great people and great fans," Smyth told ESPN.com Friday night. "But at the same time, I'm really excited about the transition to Los Angeles. You're talking about a really good, young team. Stacy [my wife] and I as a family we're really excited about going down there."

Smyth had the choice to void the deal but after some deliberation Friday he decided it was the right move.

"They gave us some time to think about it and after doing that we decided it was the right transition at this point," Smyth said.

Los Angeles will be Smyth's fourth team in his 14-year NHL career. He spent the majority of his time with Edmonton and tied Wayne Gretzky's Oilers record for powerplay goals in a season with 20 in 1996-97.

"Ryan is the type of player who fits with our team," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said in a statement. "He fills an important need as he is a competitive, gritty scoring left winger, and he fits with the overall identity we continue to build here."

The Kings turned their attention to Smyth after failing to land big-name free agent forwards Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat.

He joins a Kings team littered with young talent. 30-goal scorers Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are all 27 and under and head a forward corps that boasts 2008-09 rookies and join second-round picks Oscar Moller and Wayne Simmonds.

The Kings could afford to lose Preissing and Quincey because of the presence of defensemen Jack Johnson and 2008 first-round pick Drew Doughty. Both were selected to their respective countries pre-Olympic summer tryout camps.

The decision to part with Smyth comes from Colorado's stated desire to slash payroll in a tough economic climate. However, the addition of both puck-moving defensemen crowds the Avalanche's backline. Scott Hannan, John-Michael Liles and Ruslan Salei all offer similar skill sets to Quincey and Preissing but at a much higher cap hit.

Preissing returns to the state where he was a Hobey Baker finalist as the top player in college hockey at Colorado College.

Quincey, 23, led all Kings defensemen in scoring last year with 38 points in 72 games. He was a fourth-round pick in 2003 by Detroit. The Kings claimed him off waivers from the Red Wings on October 13, 2008.

Smyth has 310 goals, 660 points and 733 penalty minutes in 920 career games. He has 25 goals and 52 points in 81 playoff contests.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.