The End Game

Both the impression, and talk coming out of the Senators management team is one about the Dany Heatley end game.

With the passing of the draft, without any credible offers, Sens management is caught between a rock and a hard place with Heatley, and his long term contract.

So now comes the time when Murray et al have to decide what he is worth to this team.  Is he worth the potential drama, and negative press, should he remain into next season?  Is he worth a bad contract and some tantalizing prospects and picks, just to get him off the books?  Because, those are the two extremes facing Sens management.

If they aim for Heatleys pre-tantrum value, in hopes of teams paying up in the face of few or diminishing alternatives, the end result is he may go nowhere.  The other problem is that it will hand-cuff Murray in acquiring any FA talent to compensate for Heatleys departure.

Murray can sign whomever he wants (with consideration to future “tagging”  rules), and use the summer to align the salary situation with the salary cap, but as soon as he does so, he only decreases his negotiating strength, as opposing teams know Heatley must go before the start of the ’09/10 campaign.  But, because they have his replacement locked up, anything they get for Heater can be considered a bonus, even if less than what they consider fair market value.

Conversely, Murray can hold onto Heatley, until all the scoring options are gone, then have the upper hand…but, have nowhere to turn in replacing his role on the team.  Idealy, this pressure would force from a potential suiter a player near as good as most FA’s avaiable, such as a Brown, Frolov, Filatov, or Marleau.

This is why the Sens are trying to decide what Heatley is really worth.  As it stands, the team appears to be holding out for the same package as before, a top 6 forward, an NHL player, and a top prospect or draft pick.

Should it become apparent with the approach of free agency that this is not going to happen, don’t be surprised to see Healtey shipped out in a “salary dump” type situation, with little coming back but a host of role players and prospects.

The best thing Murray can hope for now is if all or most of the scoring wingers approaching free agency are either signed, or traded, which might open up the possibility of spooking a team into coming close to the package Murray expects for his talented, but narcissistic winger.

Don’t be surprised to see a move at 11:59 a.m. July 1st.  At that point Heater will have been paid, but FA has yet to open.  This will allow a team to get the jump on landing an offensive winger, save some money, and still allow Murray to do some shopping on the FA market, without being encumbered with Heatleys salary cap commitment.

Ther latest rumours (FWIW) have CLB offering Modine and Russell for Heatley, MIN offering Nolan and Zidlicky, EDM offering Penner and Visnovsky.



7 Responses to “The End Game”

  1. If those are the rumoured players being offered for Heater, then BM is right NOT to trade him.

    it is inconceivable to me that teams are lowballing this badly. For a top 10 talent since the lockout, his contract is comensurate with others with his kind of production.

    Is it just me, or do other GMs in the league have something against players from Ottawa?

    If agents were handling this “behind” the scenes, no team would take this seriously, since no one would believe Ottawa would put a 50 goal scorer on the block.

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

    Hope you didn’t have anytihg personal between you and other PLayers Heatley, cause it looks like you’ll be playing here another year at least.

    Emery got black balled, despite his talent and potential. Now, Philly are are going to take a chance on him as their #1 (likely).

    • First off KJ, they’re just rumours, therefore are absolutely worthless outside of entertainment. Secondly, I’d be surprised if a move get’s made before the last minute on either side of July 1st.
      The fact is, 7.5M may not be so bad, but until the 4M get’s paid out, it is probably high in regards to the new economic environment. Once the 4M is paid, the average salary is effectively down to 6.4M a year, which is far more pallatable.
      I expect however, Murray will hold out for a fair deal if he pays that 4M, one that includes a legit top 6 forward making less than Heater was.

      • I agree. A deal is likely not doable until after the 1st, but I doubt it will be for less than a top 6 fwd, a prospect, and a pick (1st in 2010), if any deal is made at all.


        • Just heard a new rumour…IF JBo signs, Heater for Phaneuf & Jokinen. Interesting.

          • Really??I hope this is true I think this would be great!!But I don’t believe we have the salary to accomadate those 2 salaries.

          • After everything I heard, and was told, during the draft, I don’t think there’s an ounce of truth to anything that doesn’t come directly from the NHL, lol!

  2. lol Agreed.According to Bob Mackenzie,there is really any good offer on the table so looks like Heatley will be playing in a Senators uniform next year unless Murray takes back his words and decides to trade him after July1st where he probably would get better value.

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