When Ryan Smyth was a pre-teen, he was working at the Banff Springs Hotel in 1987 that happened to be where Team Canada was training for the upcoming Canada Cup. A car in the parking lot driven by the Edmonton Oilers Glenn Anderson hit him. Smyth was hospitalized but would be alright; in fact, he was well enough to play for the Oilers seven years later and played with Anderson in the 1995-96 season.
After three full seasons with the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors , Smyth, an offensively gifted player was selected by the Edmonton Oilers as the sixth pick overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. After playing the 1994-95 season in Moose Jaw and helping Canada capture gold at the 1995 World Junior Championships, Smyth made his NHL debut playing in three games with the Oilers.
Smyth played his first full season with the Oilers in 1995-96 and in 1996-97 established a career high 39 goals. Over the course of the next three seasons the Banff, Albertat native continued his strong play for the Oilers and in 2000-01 established a career high 70 points (31-39-70). Injuries limited the gritty forward over the course of the next two seasons, yet Smyth continued to be the heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers.
In 2005-06 the Edmonton Oilers entered into the NHL playoffs as the Western Conference's 8th seed. A determined Ryan Smyth would help guide his team to the Stanley Cup Finals where the club would eventually be defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes in a seven game thriller.
Smyth and the Oilers would return in the 2006-07 NHL season hungry for yet another crack at Lord Stanley's Cup. That past summer, the Oilers lost two key veterans in Mike Peca and Chris Pronger, and were not able to sign Smyth who was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2007. After a strong start to the season, Smyth was named to his first All-Star appearance at the 2007 All Star Game in Dallas. Less than a month after as the NHL trade deadline approached, negotiations to re-sign Smyth with the Edmonton Oilers had failed.
After twelve years as an Oiler the local hero was dealt on February 27, 2007 to the the New York Islanders in exchange for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and the Islanders' first round pick in the 2007 entry draft. The day after, Smyth held an emotional news conference at the Edmonton International Airport where he stated that he will try his best to capture a Cup in New York so he can bring it to Edmonton.
As a New York Islander, Smyth's veteran leadership would help boost the club into the playoffs. However, the Islanders would fail to pass the first round of the playoffs having been eliminated by the powerful Buffalo Sabers. Entering the summer, Ryan Smyth was one of the most sought after players set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st 2007. As expected, Smyth received contract offers from numerous NHL clubs including the New York Islanders. After carefully reviewing the multiple offers, the gritty forward decided to sign a five-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
Aside from his gold medal at the 1995 World Junior Championships, Smyth has represented his country on numerous occasions. A six-time member of Canada's World Championship team (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005), Smyth went on to capture gold in both 2003 and 2004, was a gold medalist with Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and played a key role in Canada's victory at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Smyth represented Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and has represented his homeland so often that he has been referred to as "Captain Canada".
After two seasons in Colorado Smyth was traded to the Los Angelas Kings in exchange for Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing and Los Angeles' 5th round choice (Luke Walker) in 2010. The gritty winger would play two seasons for the Kings, recording seasons of 22 and 23 goals respectively.
In the summer of 2011, it was revealed that Smyth would welcome a trade back to where his career had began. On June 26, 2011, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Colin Fraser and a seventh round draft choice.