September 12, 2009
With more twists and turns than an episode of Law & Order: SVU, the National Hockey League had their own summer drama that finally reached a conclusion this afternoon. TSN breaks the news that Dany Heatley(notes) has finally been traded and is heading west to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Milan Michalek(notes), Jonathan Cheechoo(notes) and a second-round pick. Ottawa also included a fifth-round pick as part of the deal.
Talking to reporters after word began leaking out, Heatley was excited after learning his wish had been finally granted:
''I'm excited obviously, I'm excited to be a Shark,'' Heatley said. ''I want to thank everyone in Ottawa, the organization the fans, and the city. I had a great four years here (and) I'm happy to move on.''
I don't think I did anything wrong asking for a trade,'' Heatley said. ''I have my reasons for it. If people think differently of me that's fine but I believe I did nothing wrong and I'm happy to move on.''
As soon as Heatley's trade request became public during the playoffs, the saga began and immediately followed in the footsteps of Mats Sundin's(notes) indecisiveness from last summer as this year's top off-season story. There was deal in place to send him to Edmonton, which fell apart after Heatley refused to waive his no-movement clause giving Oilers fans someone new to despise, replacing Chris Pronger(notes). Then there was Heatley's desire for "options", a word he used numerous times in a conference call with reporters in August before the start of the Canadian Olympic orientation cam. Finally, we had Thursday night when ESPN's John Buccigross reported that a three-way deal had been completed involving the Senators, Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings which included Heatley, Patrick Marleau(notes), and Alexander Frolov(notes), a deal that was later denied by all parties supposedly involved.
Since Thursday night, speculation increased as to whether or not Heatley would remain a Senator at the start of training camp this weekend. Friday, Heatley was told to stay away from Friday's annual team golf tournament so as to not cause a distraction. Even after meeting with members of the Senators front-office and veteran players on Friday, Heatley was still desired a move.
With the end to all of the speculation about his future destination comes an opportunity for Heatley to help San Jose get over the playoff hump that's seen the Sharks get past the second round just once in franchise history. The Senators get a young, three-time 20-goal scorer in Michalek and a Jonathan Cheechoo who's needed a change of scenery desperately after seeing his numbers plummet since his 2005-06 when he scored 56 goals and 93 points en route to winning the Rocket Richard Trophy.
Is this move enough for the Sharks? Can Cheechoo regain his scoring touch in a Senators uniform? How much will Michalek blossom in Ottawa?