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Dany Heatley, Ottawa Senators finally settle $4M contract bonus grievance

Greg Wyshynski
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The Dany Heatley divorce from the Ottawa Senators will go down in hockey history as one of the messiest, bitterest splits between team and player.

How messy? The repercussions are still being felt four years later.

How bitter? Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has spent those four years trying to recoup $4 million in bonus money he feels Heatley didn’t deserve.

Please recall that the Senators had a trade in place that would have sent Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid. Heatley spiked the trade with his no-trade clause, and a deadline passed after which he was owed $4 million from the Senators in bonus money. Heatley was later traded to the San Jose Sharks in September 2009.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported on Tuesday that the Sens and Heatley’s reps came to some sort of settlement on the matter:

Sources say Melnyk contends in the paperwork filed at the NHL’s New York headquarters, that Heatley’s camp — including agents J.P. Barry — gave the Senators permission to speak with the Oilers and the two-time, 50-goal scorer should have accepted the deal to Edmonton.

It’s believed Melnyk not only claimed the decision by Heatley to kill the deal cost him $4 million, it also hurt the club’s ability to sell season tickets because of the uncertainty in the Senators camp.

Indeed, the Senators were saying back in Sept. 2009 that the Heatley drama affected season-ticket sales … although the recession and their first non-playoff year since 1996 might have played a role in that.

The book is now closed on Senators v. Heatley; hopefully Melnyk knocked a few Loonies off that $94 million deficit.

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