First, let me drop some knowledge on ya. I'll be real honest. I was at my desk listening to Leafs Lunch on AM640 in Toronto when I first heard that Dany Heatley had requested a trade from the Ottawa Senators organization.
Of course, my first reaction was to giggle like a school girl.
After all, any time a player is unhappy and makes a trade demand public, it certainly looks like a bit of a black eye on most franchises, particularly when it comes to Ottawa and the turbulent last few years they have had since going to the Cup finals in 2007.
Losing a perennial fifty goal scorer sucks, no matter what team you are. The fact that it's a Leafs rival, and a guy who has made a career out of torching my beloved Buds, I couldn't quite conceal my happiness. As far as I was concerned, they could ship him somewhere in the Pacific Division, where the Leafs would rarely have to see him.
But upon further pondering, the smirk wiped off my face. You see, as mentioned above, losing a fifty goal scorer is not good. They don't grow on trees per say.
But as I thought deeper into what type of move the Senators could make when they do decide to address this and trade Heatley, and trust me I am always thinking of trade scenarios, one thing hit me pretty hard.
Perhaps, the move that sends Dany Heatley out of the Nation's Capital, will be the move that kick starts the Senators and once again elevates them among the leagues elite.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying Heatley was the root of the Senators problems, far from it. But anytime you trade a top line winger, you put yourself in the position that, should you handle the moves properly, could make you that much stronger.
At the end of the day, there are three ways the Senators can handle this situation.
Number one, the most unlikely, is that Heatley and coach Cory Clouston sit down, have a heart to heart and hash out their differences, for the better of the team but that is highly unlikely. Heatley first informed the team he wanted a trade at the end of the season. Ottawa asked he sit on it for a bit and deliberate. Heatley took a few weeks, and then went forward with his demand for a trade.
It doesn't look like there is any going back now.
Option two is to trade him for young, inexpensive talent. On the surface this may not make sense, but it's all relative really.
Sending Dany Heatley to a team that is full of young, talented prospects will help the Senators immensely as a franchise if this is the avenue they decide to take. Let's say they decide to make a draft day deal. Bryan Murray could likely ask for three to four young up and coming prospects, and possibly an additional first round draft pick.
And while none of the young players Ottawa may acquire will step into the lineup right away and fill the void he left, they can use the cap relief from dealing Heatley to sign another top forward, someone along the lines of Marian Gaborik, or Marian Hossa. There are also options like Brian Gionta out there as well.
Option three, and the most flashy among most Senators fans, is to trade superstar for superstar.
Ottawa GM Bryan Murray would likely tell you that they like the set up they had with Heatley. If he weren't disgruntled and asking for a trade, there is little to think he would be moved.
So it makes sense that Murray may in fact trade superstar for superstar and attempt to replace Heatley with another potential big point producer or game breaker, and for that, there are some intriguing options.
Start in Calgary, where the rumours continue to persist that the Flames are interested in dealing Dion Phaneuf. Personally I find that unbelievable, and would consider it a big mistake for the Flames to deal Phaneuf after one off season.
Still, a Heatley/Phaneuf swap would greatly benefit both teams. Ottawa will get a top ten defenseman who can score and bring toughness. The Flames would get another high flying winger, who along with Jarome Iginla make two thirds of a formidable line combo.
And while the move would certainly help Ottawa on the back end, they could be looking for a top end winger who can step into the teams top line immediately.
From there, we see a few interesting options.
How about Martin St. Louis? While the Lightning would not be getting any cap relief with this deal, they would get someone who is more consistent than St. Louis when it comes to scoring goals. The downside to this is of course the relationships St. Louis has with both Lecavalier and young Steven Stamkos.
Another interesting option for the Senators would be for them to look West. As in, San Jose.
A deal that would see Dany Heatley sent to San Jose in exchange for Joe Thornton would certainly shake things up for both teams, and give the players the much needed change of scenery.
The Sharks need to decide whether they want to keep Thornton or Marleau. Both are number one centres, and having them try and share the ice has been uncomfortable during Joe's time on the West Coast.
I won't get into specifics of whether it would be a one-for-one swap, or a move involving multiple players. if the latter is the case, you could make the case that the Sharks would send Thornton and Cheechoo to Ottawa in exchange for Heatley and perhaps another player or draft pick.
Heatley has the speed, skill, and toughness to make the Western Conference his playground, and having Jumbo Joe in Ottawa would certainly take some of the pressure off of Jason Spezza.
All these juicy side stories, and it's hard to believe we are also blessed with a game seven Friday night.
It's a great time to be a hockey fan, without question.
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