Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi confirmed Thursday that he is trying to shop Ryan Smyth to a team "closer to home" - and sources with knowledge of the negotiation say the primary contender for Smyth's services at the moment is the Calgary Flames.
On the same day that Lombardi acquired centre Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers, he disclosed that Smyth approached him more than a month and asked for a deal, citing family reasons.
Smyth was born in Banff, Alta., and raised in Red Deer and reports have suggested that he would ultimately like to finish his career playing for the Edmonton Oilers. But the Flames, who are having trouble signing Alex Tanguay to a contract, also need help on left wing and have made a spirited bid for his services.
Lombardi confirmed he had primarily dealt with three teams, and "particularly two right now."
"I'm not in a great position here," continued Lombardi. "I'm trying to adapt. I've talked to one team a number of times and they've been very forthright in terms of trying to get a deal together - and I hope to have that wrapped up here in a day or two."
Lombardi said his first reaction was surprise when Smyth approached him about a month ago.
"When Ryan asked at first, I was really troubled, because I think Ryan - over the first 40 games last year - was one of our best players," said Lombardi. "He kind of tailed off a little, but in the playoffs, he was our best player - and left wing is not one of our strongest positions.
"First off, my reaction was 'no way' but I talked to him a few times and he made it clear it had nothing to do with hockey. I thought about it for a week or so. I told his agent, 'if this was a hockey issue, I would not approve this ... but if it's a personal family issue, it's hard to argue with that, and you don't want a player who is unhappy.'"