The saga is over, thank goodness. And among new faces, we're left with the ongoing debate of whether "we won" the Heatley trade. Everyone has, and is entitled to, their opinion. We'll be harping on this topic until the season starts, at which point we'll analyze the trade game in and game out. Fun!
So, in the spirit of analysis, I'd like to recap a few of this summer's events and raise a question.
Note: this post assumes some things in hindsight. Because reality played out, we don't know if the following is or would have been true. Consider that, bare with me, think, and comment.
Three months ago, news came to light that Dany Heatley wanted out of Ottawa. Our 50-goal man, Assistant Captain, and first line winger was unhappy. He demanded a trade and the world new it. Yikes!
Bryan Murray had a lot to consider. And needed to react.
So, Bryan made a splash and picked up one of the most skilled, yet most inconsistent, forwards in the league. Introducing Alex Kovalev.
Fans debate. Heatley remains adament that he wants out.
Edmonton wants Heatley, a trade is on the table! Fans get excited about Cogs and Penner. Heatley doesn't get as excited. The trade is made...void.
The season approaches and moving Heatley becomes ever more challenging. 6 weeks to go, 5 weeks to go, 3 weeks to go...no progress. Uh oh. We're now over the cap and it looks more and more like Heatley may possibly hit the ice as a Senator this season.
Jason Smith "retires". Interesting.
The cap is safe, Heatley can stay! Time goes on, Heatley speaks, fans are rattled, time dwindles.
September 12, 2009 - Heatley is traded for Michalek and Cheechoo (and a 2nd liner, but don`t worry about that for the sake of this post). Fans are excited! Fans are pissed! Bloggers get busy. Spezza deals with reality.
And here we are, debating the trade. Heatley for Michalek and Cheechoo. Hmmm.
Finally I reach my point...
If the Heatley debacle never existed, if he was happy in Ottawa and never wanted out, would BM have gone out and signed Kovalev? If Kovelev had never signed, and Ottawa wasn't over the cap, would Gator have "retired" (this assumes, of course, that Gator retired to leave Ottawa cap room)?
Assume the answers above are no. In that case, we enter camp with Heatley and Smith, without Michalek, Cheechoo and Kovalev. The question is, what would you prefer? Consider that the former doesn't include and circus show that we had all summer. We're essentially the same team as we were at the end of last season, but with the addition of Leclaire. The latter, of course, adds three new forwards while saying bye-bye to one (albeit a good one).
Is Ottawa better now - with Kovalev, Michalek and Cheechoo? Or were they better at the end of last season?