One disgruntled Dany Heatley was never going to stand in the way of the Ottawa Senators. They're looking for plenty of answers as it is following an extremely disappointing season. In fact, GM Brian Murray has been kicking tires for some time now, trying to fit the best possible pieces to the puzzle. Dany Heatley aggressively made it known that he had zero interest in becoming a long term fit in the nation’s capital. However, trying to justify reasons at this point is irrelevant, following a trade that sent the 72-point scorer in 2008-09 to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forwards Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek.
One thing we know at this point, after a fairly quiet offseason for San Jose, this deal makes the Sharks better and adds more questions marks across the board for the Ottawa Senators.
The Sharks now look poised to defend their Presidents Trophy as the top team in the regular season, and potentially end a string of disappointing post-season appearances. The Sharks gain a top-tier forward in the National Hockey League, but rest assured one thing, Dany Heatley will need to understand his role upon arriving out west, play his game, and keep his mouth shut in order for the Sharks to benefit fully from this deal. The potential of the Sharks becoming a greater force in the playoffs is there, but only Heatley can control whether he will be an addition to this squad.
Some might forget that prior to the past two seasons, Heatley was a back-to-back 50 goal scorer on the Senators. With him paired up with playmaker Joe Thornton, who once recorded 92 assists just a few seasons ago, it's hard to imagine many teams being able to handle this top line. (Note: Team Canada fans can expect to see these two paired up when the Olympics roll around as well this February in Vancouver)
On the other side of the table, the Ottawa Senators needed to pull the trigger on a trade to rid themselves of Dany Heatley, that much we do know. Brian Murray waited patiently all summer to ensure he was able to get what he wanted in return for his one-time superstar winger. GM Murray had to get back NHL ready players, not to mention, players that could potentially be a long-term fit. You have that in Michalek and Cheechoo if both players can identify their roles in Ottawa, and immediately compliment the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, newly acquired Alex Kovalev, and Nick Foligno. Ottawa gains two players with a combined 35 goals in the 2008-09 season. However, a Rocket Richard winning 56 goals scored by Jonathan Cheechoo in the 2005-06 season is surely not forgotten.
Brian Murray took his first steps forward without Dany Heatley just hours into training camp. Only time will tell how this deal will turn out. In the meantime, the Ottawa Senators will begin the 2009-10 season with a brand new look. What happens from there, that’s up to Head Coach Cory Clouston and the 23 guys sitting in front of him.
As for the San Jose Sharks, Dany Heatley certainly adds a major weapon to the mix. What he does on and off the ice however, could impact the Sharks in a variety of ways which will likely determine where this team ends up. GM Doug Wilson is sold on Dany Heatley, perhaps he has no choice at this point. Whether this results in the Stanley Cup that Sharks fans so desperately want, or the end of the Wilson reign in San Jose, we should know the answer by this time next year.
- Darren Coslov