San Jose Sharks Add Bark to Bite with Dany Heatley
Like a child deprived of their favourite toy, Heatley has spurned, squirmed and turned through his quarrel with Ottawa management and challenged Phoenix Coyotes for off-season headlines.
So he requested a larger role, said he hasn’t sharpened his skates as frequently in the nascent stages of Clouston’s tenure.
In San Jose, it’s been seen, the fish come big. Heatley recognized this, followed bait for months and finally got hooked and reeled into GM Doug Wilson’s pond of sharks.
Validation for Heatley—and yes, the Sharks can be happy about that.
On the other side, mapping their inexorable route to Ottawa for NHL employment, are Jonathan Cheechoo, five-year veteran Milan Michalek and a second-round draft pick.
In that sense, the Senators can march forward without a potential slug in Heatley slowing them down.
Clouston already has enigmatic forward Alex Kovalev to tame and harness, one who could either come out firing or be as detrimental as gas sprayed on a fire during his two years with the Senators. But the acquisition of Michalek is the plus in this ordeal.
Michalek notched 57 points last season and has recorded an average rating of plus-44 throughout his career, proving that he can be a steadfast player on both ends of the ice.
Yet another entity of ambiguity is bestowed upon the second-year coach in Cheechoo.
Now that he no longer toils as a shadow of the 2005-06 Rocket Richard trophy winner in the Sharks’ offensive unit, the Senators can prep him for rebirth or be left with his regression.
Only mustering 29 points and a minus-3 rating last season, this right winger will have to be handled delicately, or he may find himself buried in the third or fourth line.
And so arrives no one, really, who is as remotely distinguished or as promising as this summer’s sulk case.
A trade with the Edmonton Oilers would have shaken a more fruitful return for the Senators—a deal that purportedly included sophomore Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid.
Although in the aftermath of this saga, of why the first trade never came to fruition, we see that Heatley was indeed the captain steering matters and Senators GM Bryan Murray was the matchmaker—not simply a broker.
Even if he didn’t sound so resigned to the task, there was still a tinge of exhaustion in his words.
"I talked to Dany (on Friday) and he was adamant that he wanted to be moved. And we felt based on that, more than anything, that we should get the value that we could get for him and move on,” Murray said to reports a few hours after months of ongoing turbulence.
“What we care about are the guys that are in our room and we feel that this makes the core group know where they are going forward."
What Wilson may care about more than anyone, though maybe more than the gain of Heatley, is the emphatic retention of Patrick Marleau, who was subject to trade rumours not a week ago.
Granted, Heatley’s gargantuan cap hit at roughly $8 million doesn’t make the player any more alluring and certainly lessened compensation for him.
But with the 28-year-old in a new environment, there’s no reason for him to flop. He’s proven that change is good—remember, the winger potted 50 goals in the two consecutive seasons after trekking on from the Atlanta Thrashers and his own controversy involving drunk driving.
Of course, Cheechoo could become an impact player in Ottawa all the same. But the fact remains, Heatley, at his prime and duly paired with an awesome power-play unit to which the Sharks are conducive, is third-highest scoring forward since the lockout.
Cheechoo, on the other hand, is so far fitting the bill of a one-hit wonder.
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