In what has most certainly been the most FUBAR story in hockey in years, Dany Heatley will wake up on July 2nd $4 Million richer and still a member of the Ottawa Senators. Make no mistake about Dany Heatley - this guy just does not want to go to Edmonton. He knows that with five years remaining and a no-movement clause (funny how those work) in effect, he would have to spend the next half decade as an Oiler. On one hand, he'd be the go-to guy, just as his neighbour said he wanted to be. On the other hand, he would for sure get Roy Munson'ed out there. His feelings against becoming an Oiler are so strong that he'd rather risk having to come back to Ottawa and be driven to tears nightly than become a hero up there. How does that taste, Edmonton?
All sorts of quotes came out of the meetings where Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe flew to Kelowna to beg and grovel for the star winger. Some thought that Heatley was trying to stick it to the Sens one last time by making them pay the $4M advance. Others thought they heard him say it wasn't fair that Edmonton should pay the bonus that he earned in Ottawa. And his agents have said that Murray just didn't work hard enough to find another suitable option for Heatley. I'll pause for a moment while you let that sink in, remembering that the supposed Rangers offer included the likes of Michael Roszival, a $5M defenceman, and Nikolai Zherdev, and RFA that is slightly more popular in the league than Alexei Kaigorodov. Sorry JP.
I can sit here and blast Heatley for hours about his behaviour through all of this but it doesn't change the fact that our team looks like absolute hell this year. The supposed return from Edmonton doesn't make us much better, either. Face it, we're gonna be bad. It makes this Heatley/Edmonton rejection somewhat palatable because the cock-eyed optimist in me hopes that some other team steps up and takes this mook off our hands.
Two weeks ago, I printed a list of the 29 teams and analyzed what their interest would be in his royal highness. This was done pre-draft and resulted in ten teams that I thought had the tools, the cap space, and the need for Heatley. Those teams were Anaheim, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, NY Rangers, San Jose, and Vancouver. Let's take a deeper look at each of those again after a day of signings, shall we? The difference between then and now, of course, is that Heatley's handlers have done far more damage to his reputation and character today then they had done last week.
Anaheim: The premise is still there - Perry and Getzlaf is good but Heatley and Getzlaf could be great, and it only costs the Ducks $2M more. This is still out there.
Boston: My thought was that Murray would take the best return, regardless of division of the trading partner. Boston has contract issues with Kessel and we'd be happy to take a Wideman off their hands. There was also talk that Marc Savard might be on the block for cap reasons. Obviously, Heatley is 2.5M more than Savard, but toss in a dman and it helps them a bit. The problem is that Boston's need is on the blue line to set up Chara.
Chicago: Cooked. Hossa took that spot and will be there til he hits 50.
Dallas: Still out there. Quiet day for the new GM. I wonder if after the AVery saga last year, they're hesitant to take on a basketcase like ours. Their needs are more on the blue line with Zubov checking into a nursing home, but there's still room for him beside Richards on the top line. Please just tell me we don't have to take Ribeiro back.
Edmonton: Really? Are we really going to talk about this?
Florida: Another team in need of a superstar. Would Heatley take a trade into total oblivion and miss the playoffs for the rest of the contract? And I'm not even sure if Florida has the stack of chips to sit at the big table, anyway.
Minnesota: Cooked. Signed Boots tonight for 6 years.
NY Rangers: Cooked. Signed Gabby for 5 years at Heatley money. Slap in the face to you, Dany. They'd rather take a guy actually made of papier maché instead of you.
San Jose: Still out there. Quiet day for the Sharks except for Blake, but it doesn't appear that they really want to shake it up out there. If the return included Patrick Marleau, I'll throw up. Ehrhoff would have to come back and I'd much rather have a Clowe plus prospects/picks. Apparently Heatley and agents are waiting on this one to materialize.
Vancouver: Cooked. The Sisters are back, aren't they, Burkie?
So what do we have? Anaheim, Boston, Dallas, San Jose? Is Edmonton still in this?
My hope at this point is that Murray sticks to his public comments that the price will go up once Euge slips him that $4M. Never has an individual player so badly screwed his team and teammates like this since Eric Lindros was traded for a bunch of things (read: Stanley Cup). My guess is that Yzerman doesn't give a shit about this, but I truly hope that they at least think twice about locking this clown onto our top line in Vancouver.
As a quick aside, to celebrate Canada Day I watched my DVD of the 2002 Gold Medal Game. Ironic that Pat Quinn coached that team so well and brought a bunch of egos together for one common goal. Ironic, of course, because Pat Quinn was the same person about to be tasked with tightening the screws that have gone loose in Heatley's head since the season finished. One thing is for certain, I don't think I want to see Dany Heatley ever posing in a picture like this:
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