What do you get when you mix an All-Star left winger with a no-movement clause, a trade request, and a $4 million signing bonus?
Bryan Murray’s worst nightmare.
By now, the story has been told and re-told a thousand times: Dany Heatley requests a trade from Ottawa, but refuses to waive his no-movement clause (twice!) when a deal with Edmonton comes through.
To make things even better, the midnight deadline of his $4 million signing bonus passes, making an already rich man just a little bit richer, and already angry fans a little bit angrier.
Heatley deserves nothing, but make no mistake: he’ll be getting everything.
The winger is now persona non grata in Ottawa. From the streets to the locker room, any scenario that has Heatley back in a Senators uniform is unimaginable. The fans don’t want him, and after demanding a trade it’s unlikely he’d find comfort among his to-be former teammates. The Senators don’t have the option not to trade Heatley.
Thanks to his no-movement clause, though, trading the ornery forward is not proving to be an easy solution. As Murray found out, Heatley is not likely to agree to playing just anywhere—he wants to have his trade and his pick of the teams, too.
Ottawa agreed to Edmonton’s three player offer—Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid—but that was before the signing bonus kicked in. Murray is going to want to cover at least some of that loss, which will drive up the asking price and further weed out potential buyers.
It’s important to note also that the no-movement clause includes the minor leagues, so a demotion to the AHL is out of the picture.
Unless Murray is really looking to make a statement and cut off his nose—or keep his left winger—to spite his face, Heatley will likely come out on top of all of this.
This leaves just one thing left to do: revise the CBA and make sure no player has the opportunity to do this again.
Call it the Dany Heatley Rule: if a player requests a trade, he automatically waives his no-movement/no-trade clause.
It’s ludicrous to think that a player can request a trade, and then veto any offer he doesn’t like. Either the player isn’t nearly as desperate to get out as he appears—in which case he should reconsider his trade request—or he’s dying alive and the management should be free to shop him around.
Instead, Heatley is getting the best of both worlds, and dragging management—not to mention fans—through the mud in the process.
The NHLPA would likely flip over such an amendment to the no-movement/no-trade regulations, but so much blatant greed and selfishness is the exception, not the rule, in the NHL. To that end, other players should feel disgusted with Heatley, even if the Cheshire Cat himself is licking his chops and counting his signing bonus.
Still, one would hope this saga brands Heatley with a large, red “buyer beware” on his forehead. His childish and prima donna antics should throw up red flags, even with teams desperate for his services.
Even if Murray can’t wake up from this nightmare, it doesn’t have the be recurring.