On his club's first day of training camp, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray was finally able to purge his team of disgruntled star winger Dany Heatley. In exchange for the former 50-goal scorer, Murray was able to pick up wingers Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo, along with a second round pick, from the San Jose Sharks.
Was it a good trade for the Senators? Value-wise, not so much. But Murray had to unload Heatley. The soap opera surrounding Heatley's desire to be traded---which was first raised in May---had gone on far too long and had been enough of a distraction for the team. And with camp beginning, the negativity of Heatley needed to be eliminated from the equation in Ottawa.
Thing is, Murray's first trade of Heatley---to the Edmonton Oilers for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid earlier in the summer---was a better deal for the Sens than the one Murray was able to swing today. Heatley, of course, refused that trade. And Murray still has to be pissed with Heatley, who claimed that he only wanted "more options" to consider.
In truth, Heatley wanted no part of Edmonton.
So Murray and the Sens end up with a worse deal---plus two extra months of agita---and the Oilers have to explain to three vital cogs of its team why they were almost traded away.
And Heatley? He gets what he wants. He is out of Ottawa, where he complained that coach Cory Clouston had "limited" his role too much. And he winds up in a beautiful city that features one of the league's elite regular season teams, albeit one that still needs to find its way in the playoffs, where he likely will skate alongside one of the NHL's top playmakers in Joe Thornton.
"I don't think I did anything wrong in asking for a trade," Heatley told reporters today. "I have my reasons for it. If people think differently of me, that's fine. But I believe I did nothing wrong, and I am happy to move on."
In the 29 year-old Cheechoo, the Senators do receive a former 50-goal scorer, though that incredible 56-goal campaign is now four years removed, and his goal totals have dropped each year since to a low of just 12 last season. He is a hard worker, and maybe the change of scenery will do him some good.
Michalek is more likely the bigger catch for Ottawa in this deal. Still just 24 years-old, the former 6th overall pick has put up three straight 20+-goal seasons. He looks capable of being a 30-goal man.
Credit Sharks GM Doug Wilson for being patient on this deal, and certainly for not giving up Patrick Marleau, which had been rumored repeatedly. Wilson also added only $1 million to his payroll. Heatley makes $8 million this year, but the two players Wilson dealt to Ottawa combined for $7 million. That's a good job of managing.
Now let's see if the President's Trophy winners, fortified even more by the Heatley addition, can figure out a way to navigate the post-season.
Or is the Sharks next move to reel in a proven winner---perhaps at the expense of a Marleau---to show the others---Heatley included---what it takes?