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Are the Chicago Blackhawks Targeting Disgruntled Sniper Dany Heatley?

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IJune 15, 2009

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY:  Dany Heatley #15 of the Ottawa Senators looks on during a break in their NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on January 6, 2009 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. The Sabres defeated the Senators 4-2. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Now that the Stanley Cup playoffs have come to their dramatic conclusion, we now turn our attention to the NHL offseason and, more importantly, rumors.

Although I am not one to devise rumors or come up with fantasy trades, I do enjoy analyzing rumors that other media outlets have come up with and determine their feasibility.

One of the biggest names being mentioned in recent trade rumors is disgruntled sniper Dany Heatly.

Just about a week ago, the Ottawa Sentors superstar wing asked general manager Bryan Murray for his trade. As a Chicago Blackhawks writer, I really didn't take notice of the trade demand, but, when I read this article from the Blackhawks+Oilers+seem+possible+destinations/1692099/story.html">Ottawa Citizen, my interest was definitely peaked.

In the article, Ottawa Citizen sports writer Allen Panzeri discusses possible destinations for the former 50-goal scorer, and one of those possible destinations was the Chicago Blackhawks.

The player that the article discusses being shopped by the Blackhawks is 2008 free-agent signee Brian Campbell.

When I first read the article, I was curious how this trade would be beneficial for the Blackhawks and how the author could think Dany Heatley was a suitable replacement for the dynamic Martin Havlat.

But, if you break down the numbers, this trade could make sense, at least for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks have nearly $50 million invested in Brian Campbell over the next seven seasons and could commit over $5 million per season to free agent Martin Havlat.

The reason, in my mind, that the Campbell (and more) for Heatley trade makes sense is that the Blackhawks free up about $4.64 in cap space. Let me explain.

Brian Campbell was a great addition to the Blackhawks' power play and provided the blue line with a great offensive defenseman, but, even though he showed flashes of great offensive ability, he also had quite a few defensive lapses.

Campbell is also expendable because of the emergence of Cam Barker, who is a more physical defenseman than Campbell, as an elite power-play defenseman. 

Campbell's departure would also open up a spot for a young defenseman like Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was a playoff stud for the 'Hawks, or 2008 draft pick Shawn Lalonde.

Although neither Lalonde or Hjalmarsson possess the offensive ability that Campbell does, either of them can be a good stay-at-home defenseman the 'Hawks desperately need.

Now, for the Martin Havlat part of this trade.

As we inch closer and closer to the July 1 free-agent deadline, it seems unlikely that the Chicago Blackhawks will be able to sign unrestricted free agent Martin Havlat.

Although I do not think it is out of the question that Havlat could sign at a discount with the Blackhawks, once he hits the open market, many Eastern Conference teams will be throwing quite a bit of money at him.

If the 'Hawks do lose Havlat, they will need to replace his team-leading 77 points, and could rookies like Jack Skille, Kyle Beach, or Akim Aliu fill the void left by Havlat?

Unlikely.

So, the possibility of adding a former 50-goal scorer and 100 point producer like Healty should be attractive to general manager Dale Tallon.

Another important issue that must be mentioned in any trade or signing of a player is the future contract statuses of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith.

These three players are the faces of the young Blackhawks franchise and will all be due for raises in 2010 when they are restricted free agents.

If the 'Hawks can save themselves money by dealing Campbell for Heatley and not resigning Havlat, they need to make sure they secure Toews, Kane, and Keith for the future.

If this trade has some validity to it and the Blackhawks do add Heatley to their offensively charged lineup, they could be cup contenders for years to come.

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