Ryan Smyth played in 1,270 games during his nineteen-year NHL career. He scored 386 goals and added 456 assists, totalling 842 points. He was the heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers for fifteen seasons; from 1994 to 2007 and 2011 to 2014. He led the team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006. Ryan was a member of Team Canada twelve times and won six gold medals. He wore the "C" during six World Championships which earned him the nicknamed "Captain Canada." Ryan played on the 2002 team that won Canada's first Olympic gold medal in hockey in 50 years.
Ryan made Canada's Olympic Hockey Team which played at the 2006 Torino Games. In total, Ryan played in 90 games wearing the Team Canada jersey and set the standard for international success. He became the first player in hockey history to win a gold medal in each international category: Olympics, World Cup, World Championships (2 times), World Juniors and the Spengler Cup.
Ryan played on four different teams during his NHL career. He was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the New York Islanders on March 1, 2007. For Ryan and the fans, the trade was almost as difficult and unimaginable as the Gretzky trade was in 1988. Ryan played 18 games with the Islanders and then signed with the Colorado Avalanche in 2007. Two years later, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. In 2011, Ryan was traded one more time, returning home to "Oil Country" to play for the Edmonton Oilers once again.
On October 12, 2006, he broke the Oilers record for fastest three goals scored in one game. The San Jose Sharks led 4-2, when Ryan scored two power-play goals and added one more while playing 5-on-5. All three goals were scored in a span of two minutes and one second. He beat Wayne Gretzky's record set February 18, 1981 by 17 seconds. On March 6, 2014, he surpassed Gretzky and tied Glenn Anderson for the most power play goals in Oiler history with 126.
He scored the majority of his points as he battled it out along the crease, blocking the goaltender's view and standing his ground against the opposing team's defencemen. Ryan had exceptional hand-eye coordination and was adept at tipping the puck in the goal or scrambling to knock in a rebound.
Ryan finished his career as an Edmonton Oiler and played his last NHL game April 12, 2014.