This superstar is, of course, Dany Heatley, who announced he demands to be traded from Ottawa last week.
What makes trading Heatley even more difficult is that after July 1, he is awarded a $4 million bonus that will have to be included in any trade possibility. Heatley also has the dreaded “no movement clause” that allows him to veto a trade if he does not approve of his destination.
What makes it easy to trade Heatley is that he is a perennial goal scorer. Unlike other superstars who are difficult to trade, Heatley is still young and is still producing at a high rate.
The main goal for general manager Bryan Murray is to maximize Heatley’s value—a difficult task for any GM who has to endure a player's trade demands.
To make things easier for Old Man Murray, here is a list of all 30 teams and which ones make for a viable destination for Heatley.
Anaheim Ducks—Getzlaf and Heatley showed that they mesh well together when they were on the same line during the Olympics. However, what would it cost the Ducks? They are not likely to give up Corey Perry or Bobby Ryan.
Based on rumors, Chris Pronger seems to be available, but that would leave a huge gap in the Ducks’ defense. The Ducks are also slightly hovering under the salary cap.
Atlanta Thrashers—Tried that already. Reuniting Heatley and Kovalchuk would be nice, but not in Atlanta.
Boston Bruins—Reuniting Savard and Heatley would be nice, but Boston is far too close to the cap for them to consider taking on Heatley’s monster contract. They have to figure out what to do with RFA Phil Kessel before dealing with Heatley.
Buffalo Sabres—They would obviously have to make some moves to make room for Heatley. However, would the Sabres really want deal with two huge contracts (Heatley and Thomas Vanek) on the same team?
Two more roadblocks: Would Heatley want to go to Buffalo? Would Murray want to trade within the division?
Carolina Hurricanes—This destination might actually work. The Canes have a lot of expiring contracts and would have to probably part ways with Ray Whitney and his $3.5 million ticket. The Canes have proven that they are a playoff team that can challenge Washington for the Southeast division crown.
They have a playoff performer in Cam Ward and an established centerman to play with Heatley in Eric Staal. Along with Whitney, Carolina will likely have to give up Zack Boychuk or Brandon Sutter along with a draft pick to acquire Heatley.
Calgary Flames—Imagine Heatley joining Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen on a line? They are all big bodies who can skate and have the ability to put the puck in the net. Although they have Mike Cammalleri’s contract expiring, the Flames will have to do a lot of work to endure Heatley’s contract.
If you believe the rumor mill, Dion Phaneuf is on the block, but even if they part with Phanuef’s contract, they would still have to get rid of a top-six forward (Daymond Langkow), which would leave the Flames with no depth. The Senators would also likely ask for top prospect Mikael Backlund, who the Flames brass are in love with.
Chicago Blackhawks—As much fun as Heatley would look in a Hawks jersey, this is not a match. The Hawks have too many players that will need to be paid off in a few years (i.e. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) and the Hawks are already close to the cap. The Hawks seem to be doing fine without Heatley, anyway.
Columbus Blue Jackets—The last piece to the amazing Heatley–Getzlaf line during the Olympics was Rick Nash. Together, they used their size to impose their will. They have a decent amount of cap space, but would still need to move pieces to accommodate Heatley.
However, since the Blue Jackets lack depth, the Sens will likely ask for one of Derick Brassard or Jakub Voracek or even Nikita Filatov, which are centerpieces to their future. The Jackets also need to focus on improving their defense and especially their power play.
However, Columbus is not an unlikely scenario, if they are willing to give up talented, NHL-ready youth.
Colorado Avalanche—Not too sure if Heatley would want to play here. Even with Joe Sakic, Heatley is likely to only approve a trade to a winning club that is guaranteed to challenge for the Stanley Cup.
Dallas Stars—If Heatley believes that the Stars can make the playoffs and a run at the Cup, then he may accept a trade to the Stars. However, they finished in 12th last year behind improving clubs such as Columbus and St Louis.
The stars have enough cap room, but are likely to shore up their shortage on defense before they think about dealing for Heatley. If they were to trade for Heatley, Fabian Brunnstrom would likely be involved. Why not bring in the player compared to Daniel Alfredsson to play with Daniel Alfredsson?
Detroit Red Wings—Who doesn’t want to play for Detroit? However, if Heatley wants to play for Detroit, he will have to re-negotiate his contract to the point where he is playing for cheeseburgers.
The reality is that the Red Wings are too close to the cap and still have to re-sign Marian Hossa, and still have to figure out what they want to do with Jiri Hudler and Ville Leino.
Edmonton Oilers—The Oilers are a team that are definitely interested in Heatley, mainly because they need to score goals. However, does Heatley want to play for the Oilers? The Oilers are another team that missed the playoffs, but have a good talent base and Ales Hemsky would finally get his off-winger.
This would be a really nice fit for the Oilers and Heatley, provided that Heatley approves. What would they have to give up? Possibly Shawn Horcoff and their pick of an Oilers prospect (Jordan Eberle, Riley Nash, Theor Peckham or Linus Omark).
Florida Panthers—They have all the cap space in the world, but it is doubtful that Heatley would approve of a trade to a team that has not made the playoffs in years. The Panthers would also probably have to give the Senators one of their talented youth, which they are trying to replenish, so Florida is an unlikely destination.
Los Angeles Kings—This would be an interesting scenario. The Kings are looking to add a superstar to compliment Anze Kopitar and finally give the Kings some recognition around the league.
They have been rebuilding for too long and now is the time to make some noise with a high-priced player. The Kings can package one of their many top prospects (Wayne Simmonds, Teddy Percell, Thomas Hickey, Colten Teurbert) along with Jarret Stoll and possibly a draft pick to get a deal done.
Minnesotta Wild—Not too sure if Heatley would approve of a trade here without pending UFA, Marian Gaborik around. The Wild can offer Pierre Marc Bouchard, but would still need something more to entice Murray to make a deal.
Montreal Canadiens—I do not believe that Vincent Lecavalier will be traded to the Habs, so they could target Heatley. They cleared their salary cap to accommodate Lecavalier’s monster contract, so they have room for Heatley’s monster.
The Habs will likely offer the same package they offered the Lightning for Lecavalier to the Senators (Higgins, Plekanec, Subban and a draft pick).
However, if the Sens do not like Higgins or Plekanec, they will likely ask for Sergei Kosititsyn. But Subban is the main part of the deal. Not only is he a quick, playmaking defenseman, but a player that the Ottawa fans have come to fall in love with, thanks to his wizardry during the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa.
Nashville Predators—The Preds desperately need scoring. They were amongst the league’s worst offensive teams last season. Heatley would be a welcome addition to the Preds, but again, Nashville, may not be on Heatley’s wish list. The Predators can offer Martin Erat or JP Dumont.
The Sens will probably want a piece of Nashville’s defensive depth, so Ryan Suter could be an option, or perhaps Jon Blum or Cody Franson if the Sens want to go younger. Are the rights to Alexander Radulov worth anything?
New Jersey Devils—They have a lot of expiring contracts that they need to take care of before thinking of Heatley. They may also fall a little short of offering what the Sens are asking for (Travis Zajac and Niclas Havelid plus draft picks). However, adding Heatley to Parise, Elias, Rolston and Brodeur could move the Devils to an elite level.
New York Islanders—If Heatley can foresee the future and see that the Isles will be a contender in a year or two, then he may accept a trade to the Island. But the Islanders are definitely looking to add, especially with their youth still a few years away from their rookie contracts expiring.
New York Rangers—Get rid of the bad contracts, then start the bidding.
Philadelphia Flyers—This would be an interesting scenario. As mentioned in part one of this Potential Offseason Trades series, the Flyers have lots of youth to offer from James van Riemdyk to Luca Sbisa. They will also have to package Daniel Briere in order to clear cap space.
Heatley would be a very good addition to the Flyers and would vault them to the top of the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are hunting for a big ticket player (Jay Bouwmeester) and Dany Heatley could very well be the answer, provided that they clear Briere’s monster contract.
Phoenix Coyotes—They have enough cap space and so much potential, but Heatley is more likely to accept a trade to a contender.
Pittsburgh Penguins—Congratulations to the Stanley Cup champions. But Pittsburgh is not a likely destination for Heatley. The Pens already have Crosby and Malkin locked up to heavy, long-term contracts, and adding Heatley would commit them to almost $30 million to three players.
San Jose Sharks—Why not? General Manager Doug Wilson is looking to shake up the Sharks after bowing out of the first round after a President’s Cup-winning season. Patrick Marleau has been the steady captain of the Sharks, but did not show much in the postseason.
Find a sucker for Cheechoo’s $3.5 million contract and package Marleau, a prospect and a pick to the Sens for Heatley. Joe Thornton, similar to Getzlaf, can use his size to impose his will with Heatley. According to Sportsnet, the Sharks are among the teams on Heatley’s wish list.
St. Louis Blues—According to the very reliable and professional Andy Strickland, the Blues are not interested in Heatley. “The last thing the Blues would need is a one-dimensional player who may skate hard when he’s on a break or hitting the hole but hardly gives you the all around game you’d expect from a player earning major coin and who’s expected to be the team leader.” (source)
Ouch. I believe the Blues are content in developing their farm and building a solid core with Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie, and David Backes.
Tampa Bay Lightning—The Lightning have already tried the three-headed monster experiment with Lecavalier, Martin St Louis and Brad Richards. It was a horrendous failure. I do not believe they would be willing to try it again.
They could, of course, trade Lecavalier for Heatley straight up. But the reason they would trade away Lecavalier would be to cut salary. They would not achieve this by bringing another big salary in.
Toronto Maple Leafs—They can’t really offer much. Would the Sens really want an expensive Jason Blake and the expiring contract of Tomas Kaberle? Perhaps they can offer the Senators the rights to move to Hamilton at no charge, then allow Phoenix to move to Ottawa.
Vancouver Canucks—A lot of expiring contracts, but need to sign the Sedin heads and Mats Sundin as well. GM Mike Gillis has proven that he is willing to spend and the Canucks have proven that they have the pieces to make a strong playoff run. This could very well be a destination for Heatley as long as the package is right for Bryan Murray.
Washington Capitals—Heatley was born in West Germany, which is not Russian enough to play for the Caps.
In the end, Bryan Murray was kind of blindsided by Heatley’s intentions, just one year after signing Heatley to a multi-year contract. Making it worse was Heatley going public with his demands. Making it even more worse for Murray is that Heatley has a no movement clause; therefore, he may not even get the best deal, but the most acceptable deal.
Best Case Scenario—Heatley to Philadelphia for James vanRiemsdyk, Luca Sbisa and Danny Briere
Second Best Case Scenario—Heatley to the Kings for a youth movement package.
Worst Case Scenario—Heatley to Vancouver for Burrows? Bernier? Bieksa? Cory Schneider?
Most Realistic Scenario—Heatley to San Jose for Marleau package.