I was just over on the trade rumors board readin a thread about the rumored Stuart deal, when I had a thought. I can't recall it being discussed here much before, so I though I'd see what people thought.
Perhaps the reason Smyth hasn't signed yet, is because he's waiting to see what the Oilers will do with any hometown discount he gives them. Lets say Smyth (or his agent, whatever) walks into the negotiation room and tells Lowe he thinks he can get 6 million/year on the ufa market, but he's may be willing to sign for undermarket value, provided Lowe uses that discount to sign a major piece of the puzzle.
That way if the Oilers are going to retool for the next couple years, then Smyth can ask for the full 5-6 million as a type of retirement pension. If the Oilers go with youth, they should have the cap room for a slightly inflated contract and Smyth gets to retire an Oiler and everybody wins.
But Smyth being the team guy beyond all else, might also be willing to sacrifice 1-1.5 million if he thinks it makes the difference in signing a key guy and making a run for it.
I'm thinking the rumored deal for Stuart might be contingent on seeing if/how much, Stuart would sign in Edmonton for. If those numbers jive with Smyths numbers, then both deals go down within days of each other, propelling the Oilers to a MASSIVE winning streak, enroute to another run at the cup
It's an idea, and certainly not unheard of. Sorry to sound like LT and bring in a baseball reference (), IIRC Chipper Jones (another career-with-one-team guy) took a pay cut a few years back in order to allow the Atlanta Braves to sign an ace pitcher, which they did. In return, I believe he got an extra year (or two) at the new reduced rate.