San Jose Sharks: First Off-Season Trade Suggestion

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIJuly 17, 2009

TORONTO - APRIL 11:  Dany Heatley #15 of the Ottawa Senators skates with the puck in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 11, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Leafs defeated the Senators on the strength of a 3 goal performance by Boyd Devereaux #22. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks have recently signed two Nashville players as free agents—C Scott Nichol and RW Jed Ortmeyer, giving the Sharks two more legitimate checking forwards. They also re-signed forward Ryan Vesce, and added two others with extremely limited NHL experience in Joe Callahan and Dwight Helminen.

Unfortunately, there is currently no way to get these players on to the NHL roster under the salary cap. Worse yet, there is no cap room to sign very important players they have tendered qualifying offers to (RW Brad Staubitz, C Torrey Mitchell, and the team's current projected backup goalie, Thomas Greiss).

This leaves the Sharks two forwards and one goalie short of a complete roster, and with only one additional defenceman—i.e. at least two players not on the current roster will have to be added just to field an entire team. Since carrying fewer than two scratched players is unwise and unheard of, you can count on that number being four.

This necessitates that expensive players be replaced with a higher volume of less expensive alternatives. As outlined in the last article, the Sharks are less likely to send players to the minors than they are to trade them, and the seven most likely players to be moved were listed.

In this series, teams most likely to be interested in those players are examined. As just about every team will have an interest in at least one of the Sharks on that list, the place to start is with teams most in the market to make moves. This article deals with the first option for a trade; new articles posted regularly will deal with other options.

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Ottawa Senators

Every true hockey is aware that, even though he has a no-trade clause, Dany Heatley has requested a trade and the team is trying to oblige. And while it may appear that Heatley is a malcontent for demanding he be shipped off from a second team, there is good reason the Sharks appear to still be interested.

For one thing, he provides the thing the Sharks have lacked in each of the last four playoffs, when a lack of playoff scoring did them in. In addition, Heatley's demands were understandable in both cases: He could not escape the tragedy of his reckless driving killing his friend in Atlanta, and Ottawa has been a mess since making it to the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.

While Heatley has reportedly rejected at least one deal, he is unlikely to reject a move to San Jose. The Sharks represent a chance to line up with one of only two other playmakers who can get him the puck in a shooting position as well as current teammate Jason Spezza (Joe Thornton; the other option is Marc Savard).

They also represent one of the few teams that give Heatley a chance at a Stanley Cup right away.

Upon first glance, there would appear to be a major obstacle: The Senators are one of the few teams already over the cap—by almost $2 million. However, this includes 16 forwards and seven defencemen; by merely sending three skaters down who will not crack the active list anyway, Ottawa can get under the cap.

Ottawa's biggest need is a backup goalie, but it is possible they Sharks could satisfy that with one of their many minor- or junior-league prospects. In addition, any of the three defencemen on the list would project to play on Ottawa's third pair, thus being an upgrade over the ones they have now.

The Senators would also likely be looking for a scoring forward to replace the sniper they lost, and one who will be happier to be there, making anyone else on the list but Jody Shelley (Ottawa is set for enforcers) attractive.

My trade: D Christian Ehrhoff, LW Milan Michalek, and G Tyson Sexsmith for LW Dany Heatley. This would do nothing to clear space for either team, but would not add to the problem, either, and would address other team needs.

The Sharks would get the sniper they need and avoid the problem of carrying an expensive seventh defenceman. The Senators would get rid of a player who does not want to be there and add a suitable and younger replacement, upgrade their blueline, and get a goalie who might be able to serve as the team's backup.

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