So, What did We Really Get?


As anyone with an ounce of pragmatic thinking would have already expected, an elite player was not traded for another elite player.

Murray prepared us all for this reality, and positive thinking aside, he stuck to his word.

Oh sure, another elite scorer would have been nice, but honestly, does Ottawa really need one?  With Kovalev, Spezza, and Alfie, Ottawa has it share of top tier talent, what has been sorely lacking since the inception of this team is offensive depth, in all positions.

This trade hasn’t made the team perfect, but it has brought on board two key attributes; solid offensive ability, and increased physicality.  Both Michalek and Cheechoo play a physical brand of hockey, cheechoo especially, and with the exception of Fisher, this was virtually non existant in the top six prior to this trade, with Heatley being the most glaring culprit.  This isn’t sour grapes, it’s the truth of the matter.

In Michalek the Sens have a potential power forward, at long last.  To be fair, he’s no Iginla, don’t get me wrong, but in the same mold as Alfie, but with more size and speed, Mich can play against the bigger bodied Dmen and come out on top more oftent than not.  Add to that an impressive two way ability, in a 24 yr. old package, and the Sens may well have the makings of a franchise guy.  Suddenly this team has improved depth in all facets of the game; speed, physicality, scoring, PP, and PK.  Compare this list of attributes to those on Heatley’s resume, and it’s not hard to see where the Sens have potentially shown more improvement then the Sharks, based upon this one player alone.  No doubt it was the inclusion of Mich that made this deal go down, and there is no telling for sure if he will continue to improve, but, if he does, which is likely, Ottawa probably won this deal, player for player. 

To those decrying the loss of a 50 goal man in Heatley, I ask one question, has alfie ever scored 50 goals? 

Nope.

But given a choice between a career long affiliation with either Heatley or Alfie, it would be a no brainer…Sensay selects Alfredsson.

This is the potential reality when comparing Mich to Heatley.  There’s no denying Heater is the better sniper, but, in all other facets of the game, Heater comes up short, and that simply cannot be dismissed.

As for Cheech…who’s to say?  No doubt his one monster season came in combination with an invigorated, and determined linemate in Thorton.  In so many ways Cheech is similar to Heatley, in fact, it could be argued he is a better player than Heatley.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that, I’m just saying one could make that argument…and here it is.

Heatley has enjoyed tremendous success as a sniper, but he has also had the luxury of playing with linemates, and within a system, that accommodated his abilities.  But unlike Cheech, even when given all the opportunity to succeed, Heatley still struggled last season.  He had the ice time, the linemates, and the green light to play his game, yet he fell far short of his “50 goal man” status.  why should he be given a pass, but Cheech not?

Sure, Cheech has declined every year since, and that is a MAJOR worry, but he’s also found himself in less than ideal circumstances for a sniper.  How do you think Heater would do playing on the third line, while battling injury?  Probably no better.

So, is cheech just an opportunity away from regaining 50 goal status?  Who knows, but I won’t be holding my breath waiting, but this isn’t where the comparison ends.

If Heater found himself playing on the third line, would anyone even notice him?

Nope.

Outside of a tremendous one timer, the fact remains that, like Cheech, he’s a slow skater, with dubious 2 way abilities.  But unlike Cheech, he entirely lacks “grit”.  Again, this isn’t sour grapes, it’s a cold hard fact.  Heatley is a total marshmallow.  It’s frustrating to watch such a big man get knocked off the puck, and onto his but, with all but the smallest of physical contact.  There’s a reason he so rarely has “injuries”…he avoids contact, either by skating away from it, or going down at the first site of a body check.  This isn’t what it takes to win, or inspire your teammates.

Then take Cheech.  He may be one dimensional, but at least he plays with heart, and a little carborundum.  If Cheech plays on the third line, he will be noticed.  saying that, if he is reduced to the third line, his acquisition will have proven to be a bust.

As it stands, when it comes to Cheech, the jury remains out, but the votes are stacked against him.  It will take some strong play to sway the general consensus that he was a one hit wonder, and without a strong playmaking 2nd line centre Cheech will no doubt find his work cut out for him in the “one timer” department.  But if he brings his a game, and looks to be returning to shades of his former self while playing alongside Spezza, don’t be surprised to see Clouston trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle.

GN

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2 Responses to “So, What did We Really Get?”

  1. Master of Puppets Says:

    A potential 30 goal, 2way power forward, and Heatley lite, if you will. I’m not sure how 2 way Cheechoo is, his -3 last year isn’t as bad as Heatleys -11 and may be injury related as well. Although SJ had a better team that scored more so -3 there may be equal to -11 here, who knows.

    Put him on the right side, Kovalev on the left with Fisher. There’s at least one skill guy there to set him up, and Kovalev will also take the body.

    We’ll certainly never know now how good this team would have been if Heatley stayed, but with balanced scoring and decent ‘tending, 5th place in the East is within reach and not too far fetched. Suck on that Leafs!

  2. From what I have been reading about Cheech, he has been working hard all summer, and is a good team player. I have always believed the success you have as an indivudual is directly correlated to the chemisrty and opportuntiy given with whom you play with.

    Cheech, assuming he is willing to put in the effort, buy into what the coach is preaching, and be a good teammate, there is absolutely no reason to believe he can’t have success again. You don’t forget how to play the game. And if you had the skill to win the Maurice Richard trophy, that feat should not be discounted, even if he has declined in production since. When you play on the 3rd line, you don’t get the minutes to score 50.

    I agree with you there Sensay. If Heatley was reduced to the 3rd line, there is absolutely no way he scores 50 either.

    Murray settled. no doubt. But, given the circumstances, I am much much happier knowing the Sens players can just focus on hockey now, and am content that all the players invited to camp, including the newest, want to be here, and play hard for Ottawa as a team.

    I am extremely excited about having LeClaire in Nets for us. Some fans are downplaying this, because of past dissapointments, but I really think the Sens can get back to playing an agressive forecheck game with LeClaire in Nets. He will allow them to play offensively again, without worrying about Guys scoring from the outside.

    I am so excited, I can’t wait for hockey to start.

    KJ

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