Edmonton, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - Longtime Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth announced Friday that he will end his 19-year NHL career following Saturday's season finale against the Vancouver Canucks.
One of the most popular players in Oilers' history, Smyth spent a total of 15 seasons in Edmonton and ranks second on the franchise's all-time list with 970 games played. The Alberta native enters Saturday's matchup tied with Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson for the club career mark with 126 power-play goals.
Smyth's 296 goals as an Oiler stands fifth in team annals, behind only legendary players Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Anderson and Mark Messier, while his 631 points are sixth-best in franchise history.
"We would like to thank Ryan for being a great Oiler," Edmonton general manager Craig MacTavish said in a statement. "Ryan and his family are ambassadors for both the Oilers and the city of Edmonton and we cannot thank them enough for their dedication. Ryan truly exemplifies what it means to be an Oiler and I am extremely proud to have had him as key part of our hockey club for so many years."
Selected by Edmonton with the sixth overall selection in the 1994 NHL Draft, Smyth played his first 11 seasons in the league with the Oilers before being traded to the New York Islanders in February of 2007, a move that was highly unpopular with fans of the team. Smyth, who was unable to come to terms on a contract extension at the time, gave a memorable press conference following the deal in which he tearfully broke down while thanking the fans and organization.
Smyth returned to Edmonton via a trade with the Los Angeles Kings in June of 2011. The 38-year-old has recorded 10 goals and 13 assists in 71 games this season.
"I have been truly blessed to play this game for as long as I have and will cherish the memories forever," Smyth said on Friday. "After some difficult discussions over the past week, I felt it was best to make this decision and move on with life after hockey and enjoy every minute I have with my family."
Smyth also played two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche from 2007-09 prior to being traded to Los Angeles. He was named a Western Conference All-Star during the 2006-07 campaign and scored 30 or more goals five times during his career.
A member of Canada's gold medal-winning squad at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Smyth also represented the nation at the 2006 Torino Games and captained Team Canada for a record six World Hockey Championships (2001-05, 2010).