Dispute between Kings and Oilers remains unresolved
A mediator appointed by the NHL was unable to resolve the dispute between the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers relating to the Ryan Smyth trade.
As part of the trade to bring Ryan Smyth back to the Oilers, the L.A. Kings received forward Colin Fraser with the intent of buying out his contract. The deal was made in order for the Kings to shed salary and honor Smyth’s wishes by sending him back to Edmonton. The Kings cannot buy out Fraser’s contract because he is currently injured and was at the time of the deal, even though the Kings were unaware of the injury at the time.
The reason this is more troubling is that Smyth was initially to be traded to the Oilers for Gilbert Brule. Brule failed his physical, which is what resulted in Fraser even becoming a part of the deal.
If the Kings want to pursue their grievance, they must file formally with the league, which would force commissioner Gary Bettman to intervene. It is unclear what additional compensation the Kings would receive, if any, and it is also believed that they do not want the trade voided because they would have to re-take Smyth’s salary.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has been highly critical of the Oilers front office since the trade was made official, even going as far as saying, “The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word.”
It is unclear if the Kings will pursue the issue further at this time.