NHL

Most Heatley trade rumors make no sense

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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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Other than the ongoing saga of the Phoenix Coyotes ownership and musings over how Patrick Kane's recent run-in with a Buffalo cab driver might hurt his reputation there's little real hockey news going on at this point in the NHL's offseason. As is usually the case when news is lacking, Internet-fueled rumors pick up steam. Most of the speculation is centered upon Ottawa Senators winger Dany Heatley, whose trade request two months ago guaranteed he'd be the most talked-about NHL player of the summer. Heatley is a talented scorer — a two-time 50-goal man — but his hefty contract ($7.5 million per season) and no-movement clause significantly hampered any efforts on the part of Senators management to move him. Of the eight teams on his supposed "wish list," only the San Jose Sharks are believed to have interest in him. The problem is apparently the unwillingness of Sharks general manager Doug Wilson to part with a top-six forward as part of the return. The Ottawa Sun reported Wilson offered up winger Jonathan Cheechoo and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff but Senators GM Bryan Murray rejected it. With negotiations believed at a standstill, some observers suggest a third team might need to get involved to facilitate a deal. Unfortunately, such speculation simply doesn't make sense. Take for example the suggestion of center Patrick Marleau to the Montreal Canadiens for center Tomas Plekanec and defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who would then be flipped to Ottawa for Heatley. Marleau is in a contract year and has a no-trade clause which he's not going to waive to spend a year living the fishbowl existence of a Canadien. Hamrlik has a limited "no-trade" clause preventing him from being dealt to nearly half the teams in the league. If Ottawa or San Jose were on that list, no trade would happen. Another had winger Mike Cammalleri being dealt to the Sharks in exchange for Cheechoo and Ehrhoff and then traded to Ottawa for Heatley. Considering the Canadiens signed Cammalleri as an unrestricted free agent to a multi-year contract, that rumor is ridiculous. And ignore the continuing rumors of the New York Rangers trying to land him. General manager Glen Sather pretty much shot down that possibility by signing right winger Marian Gaborik to the same salary as Heatley back on July 1. With about $8 million in cap space remaining and several re-signings to make — including potential first-line center Brandon Dubinsky — Sather's not about to blow that up for the sake of another expensive first-line winger. The Minnesota Wild were also believed a potential trade partner. While they could certainly use Heatley's offense they have little to offer up except perhaps goaltender Josh Harding, but the Senators no longer need goaltending help given their acquisition late last season of Pascal Leclaire. The Edmonton Oilers — who weren't on Heatley's list — had been interested, reportedly offering up Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid but that deal was shot down twice by Heatley himself and after a month of fruitless wooing the Oilers gave up and pulled the offer. The longer this situation drags on the more likely Heatley could be returning to the Senators next month. He can't refuse to report because that would be breach of contract, earning him a suspension without pay. Forget about him bailing for Russia's Kontinental Hockey League as he has no interest of toiling overseas. It's been suggested Senators management could refuse to allow him to report to training camp but that doesn't appear likely given the comments earlier this summer of team owner Eugene Melnyk and Murray saying they'd expect Heatley to report if he's not dealt. Unless the Sharks over the next four weeks improve their offer or another team — one Heatley is willing to play for — jumps in with an incredible offer, don't be surprised if he starts the upcoming season on the Senators' first line.
Tagged: Blackhawks, Oilers, Canadiens, Rangers, Senators, Sharks, Coyotes, Wild, Roman Hamrlik, Patrick Marleau, Marian Gaborik, Dany Heatley, Jonathan Cheechoo, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Plekanec, Pascal Leclaire, Ladislav Smid, Dustin Penner, Josh Harding, Brandon Dubinsky, Andrew Cogliano, Patrick Kane

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