NHL

Heatley wanted out, but now he won't leave

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Spector

At home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he's known as Lyle Richardson. But around these parts, he's known as Spector, FOXSports.com's Prince of Pucks. Check in with Spector's NHL Blog on Yardbarker.com for NHL rumors and analysis.

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Nearly every NHL offseason is dominated by the status of a star player and this summer is no different. Two years ago it was seemingly endless speculation over the future of Peter Forsberg and last summer consisted of near-constant rumors over potential destinations for Mats Sundin. This summer it's the continuing saga of Dany Heatley's trade request. Heatley, one of the top forwards for the Ottawa Senators, stunned the hockey world over a month ago by submitting a trade request. Apart from brief statements from his agents, Heatley hasn't publicly spoken about it. Senators general manager Bryan Murray has tried to oblige Heatley but it hasn't been easy. The winger is heading into the second year of a seven-year contract worth over $7 million per season, which significantly limits his market value. The contract also comes with a "no-movement" clause meaning he cannot be traded or demoted without his permission. His agents submitted a list of preferred destinations but a combination of Murray's asking price (believed to be a top-six forward, a puck-moving defenseman and a first-round pick) and the free-agent market effectively took most of those teams out of contention. One team not on Heatley's list was the Edmonton Oilers, whose management offered up forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano and defenseman Ladislav Smid for the disgruntled Senators winger. Murray accepted the offer but Heatley twice refused to waive his movement clause despite being contacted by several Oilers players asking him to reconsider. It's believed however Heatley hasn't fully closed the door on joining the Oilers, and the club has remained in touch with his agents, recently sending him team videos in hopes of convincing him to come to Edmonton. The move met with scorn from some pundits who believed the Oilers should just move on. One club believed to be on Heatley's "wish list" is the San Jose Sharks, whose general manager Doug Wilson promised significant changes to his roster after yet another disappointing playoff performance and so far has yet to deliver. To land Heatley, Wilson would have to move considerable cap space as the Sharks are currently bumping up against the $56.8 million salary cap. It's been rumored Wilson offered up winger Jonathan Cheechoo as part of a proposal to the Senators but Murray rejected it. Murray might not find any takers for Heatley in the coming weeks, meaning the winger could either return to the Senators or hold out in hopes a trade might materialize during the season and risk suspension without pay.
  • Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel remains unsigned as contract talks with general manager Peter Chiarelli remain deadlocked. The sticking point is Kessel's rumored salary demands of more than $4 million per season. Chiarelli tried last month to ship the winger to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Tomas Kaberle but now claims he intends to keep Kessel. Cap space is definitely a problem for Chiarelli. He has around $1.7 million available, so re-signing Kessel means he'll have to dump salary. Forwards Michael Ryder ($4 million) and Chuck Kobasew ($2.33 million) have been rumored as potential trade candidates but at this time of year finding takers won't be easy. It's possible a rival club could try to sign away Kessel by sending him an expensive offer sheet prior to the start of next season, but as the Boston Globe recently noted most teams lack the cap space to do so.
  • The Detroit Red Wings may be turning the page on winger Jiri Hudler. While the two sides went to salary arbitration this week, Hudler appears destined to play in the KHL next season. The NHL reportedly intends to challenge Hudler's signing with a KHL team but Wings GM Ken Holland said he's resigned to Hudler playing in Russia next season. Holland is now shopping around for an affordable free-agent winger and has several options, including former Wings Jason Williams and Todd Bertuzzi. Recent reports out of Detroit suggest Holland may be close to signing Williams. Former San Jose Sharks winger Mike Grier reportedly is interested in joining the Wings but Holland is believed seeking a top-six winger and Grier's lack of offensive production would work against him.
  • Tagged: Bruins, Red Wings, Oilers, Senators, Sharks, Maple Leafs, Jason Williams, Mike Grier, Tomas Kaberle, Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg, Chuck Kobasew, Dany Heatley, Jonathan Cheechoo, Michael Ryder, Jiri Hudler, Todd Bertuzzi, Ladislav Smid, Dustin Penner, Phil Kessel, Andrew Cogliano

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