Heatley, Zherdev, Kessel; which team is not done yet in the off-season?
Will Heatley still be traded? My take on Zherdev and two teams that I think can get him. One has been discussed by the media in June, the other will surprise you.Is Heatley still on he trade block?
Of course he is, but Murray dug himself a huge hole here. Of course Heatley did not make matters easier by requesting a trade and allowing it to leak through the media. Yet, I cannot blame him either for requesting a trade and for not being traded. Blame GM Murray. The man started the beginning of the end for the Ottawa Senators, just as he did with the Anaheim Ducks and teams before that. He gets them far, and then blows them up. This is a team that went from having a strong young core of highly skilled players, to a team that is marginally playoff worthy. You cannot make the playoffs with the kind of defense they had. You cannot go from Chara-Redden to Kuba and who else? I forgot. I forgot? That’s how bad the defense was last season.
Heatley extended a contract thinking that the Sens would improve and be a force in the playoffs. Yet, he saw his boss upstairs (Murray) gutting the team to become non-playoff one. Wouldn’t you be upset? I would be. This could very well happen in Atlanta with Ilya Kovalchuk. GM Waddell will have to do his part once, and if, Kovalchuk signs an extension. As a GM, you just cannot allow a player to commit for years and in return hand him over playoff-less seasons. Murray will start a stretch of playoff-less seasons for the Sens, and Heatley has every right to want to leave.
According to rumored reports, Murray’s asking price was quite high for Heatley when it came to teams like the New York Rangers, asking for Marc Staal, and Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan. He turned down, apparently, some kind of deal that would have Alex Frolov, Jack Johnson, and the 5th overall for Danny Heatley. Yet, Murray somehow agreed to a trade where in return he’d get Andy Cogliano, who is a good top six forward for the future, an expensive bust in Dustin Penner, and a 3rd pair d-man in Ladislav Smid.
I mean, where is the logic in that, folks? Where? When I read that story I just stared at the screen wondering how do these people have such jobs. How? How could Mr. Melnyk even approve of such a terrible deal, too? Is he not a big hockey fan? Any hockey fan knows that this deal would have been terrible.
But, it’s Murray we’re talking about here. This is the man that told Paul Kariya “sorry, we can’t make a qualifying offer because we cannot afford to”, and then went on a spending spree signing Sergei Fedorov and Prosplal Where is the logic in that? Especially since the Might Ducks missed the post-season after that.
This guy wanted to put Heatley in the worst situation possible; sending him to a city that is not well favored by players (sorry Edmontonians, I am sure your city is nice and all, but apparently players don’t think so). It was a way for Murray to slap Heatley. Murray’s big ego, though, didn’t pay off one bit as the NTC that Murray gave to Heatley came back to bite him. HaaaaHaaaa!
And what happened this week? Edmonton said “no more”. EXCELLENT! So now Murray is stuck with one less trading partner, after having signed Alex Kovalev with a cap hit of $5M for two years, which now puts the Senators slightly over the salary cap.
So now what, Murray? While it has been rumored that the Sharks are hunting Heatley, the situation becomes very complex as San Jose has a lot of salary dumping to do and trading Patrick Marleau will be no easy task. They could trade Michalek and Erhoff, but why give up so much value? Would the Sharks be much better by trading two well productive, starting roster players for Heatley? And furthermore, the Senators would still be slightly over the cap with such a trade and would be forced to dump salary. And is it worth it to dump salary in someone like Mike Fisher? Chris Phillips? Of course not.
But hey, it’s Murray and the guy would not surprise me if he makes some terrible moves.
To put it in simpler terms for you guys, General Manager Bryan Murray is ………. screwed.
So, who could jump in and make a splash for Danny Heatley in a deal that would make him look like a genius?
This is where I will very briefly discuss Nik Zherdev.
What will happen to him? Well, if the arbitrator gives him an away of under $3.8M, then MAYBE the New York Rangers will keep him, otherwise you will most likely see Zherdev wear a new jersey next season. Which jersey by the way? Well, there are MANY possibilities, such as Los Angeles, Nashville, Phoenix, Tampa Bay (pending Alex Tanguay), Toronto and some others. But, I’ll stick with my top two choices.
First choice is Detroit. That all depends on the situation with Jiri Hudler, of course, but why wouldn’t the Red Wings be interested in a skilled young Russian that could explode with the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk? Zherdev is a hell of a hockey player, but he needs a patient coach and John Tortorella clearly is not one of them.
That being said, I will now link this to Dany Heatley and say that the second jersey I could see Zherdev wear is a Senators jersey. Yes I know, Murray rejected that rumored deal that consisted of Zherdev, Michal Rozsival, and this year’s 1st rounder. Now imagine an Ottawa team that would have Kuba, Phillips, and Rozsival as their top three defensemen, and an offensive core of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Kovalev, and Zherdev? Respectable defense, respectable offense.
I think it is still possible that GM Murray will need to re-visit that proposed trade by GM Glen Sather of the New York Rangers. Why would this make sense? Rangers get a hell of a LW’er, and sticking Dubinsky between Heatley and Gaborik would cancel out the necessity of acquiring a center. The Sens get a solid d-man that can also contribute offensively, and a young player that could blossom with Spezza, Alffy, and Kovalev. Of course, both teams would then need to find ways of trimming their budgets. Say goodbye to Chris Kelly and Jaarko Ruutu, and for the Rangers say goodbye to Aaron Voros.
Either way, Murray HAS to trade Heatley at some point and he will have to give in to what the other general manager wants to give up. Tough luck Bryan, you had your chances.
Thank you all for reading as always,