After a week of Dany Heatley rumors nothing has emerged. Supposedly there are a few teams involved still in acquiring his services. The belief is San Jose is the leader after clearing some cap space but if Sharks GM Doug Wilson continues to include Johnathan Cheechoo talks will remain in neutral.
Minnesota has been linked to the Sens winger, but to me it smells like a leverage play. They don’t have much to offer and they will not include Brent Burns in a deal. Former Senators Director of Hockey Operations Brent Flahr is now the assistant GM with the Wild and I find it hard to believe he would council his team to bring Heatley on board.
Edmonton would still bring him in, but at what price? Would the fans there welcome back Chris Pronger? No chance, so why would they want another malcontent? The Oil might have a fan revolt on their hands.
Los Angeles have the pieces and the cap space. Problem is Ron Hextall publically stated they have no interest in a player who has had problems with three coaches and made two trade demands in recent memory. Can the Kings then trade for Dany after ripping him?
The Senators do not want the distraction of Heatley at camp but they do not want to trade him for a bag of pucks either. Many are saying to hang on to him and wait for him to get off to a good start. The thinking is he will want to impress the Team Canada brass by lighting it up and playing 2 way hockey. But if he goes into a slump and sulks that will only mean bad karma for Ottawa. After last season this team needs to get off to a good start.
Ottawa is still over the salary cap and will need to make a move soon. Bryan Murray has obviously looked at a possible Heatley trade as the solution, but may have to resort to moving someone else. Jason Smith, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu could possible be dealt.
Now I don’t pretend to have all the info when it comes to the Jim Balsillie, the NHL and the Phoenix situation, but I have to say it is playing out like a chess match. For each move the other side reacts with a counter move. So the question becomes who walks into the court with the trump card?
Gary Bettman is doing everything in his power to keep Balsillie from getting a team. The NHL has now put in a bid to buy the team. Their intention is to then turn around and sell the team, possibly to an owner who would then move the franchise. Their bid is about $70 million less than what Balsillie offered, but have no conditions on their bid.
So, why doesn’t Jim take away the condition of moving the team to southern Ontario? This would put to the NHL’s feet to the fire. Then we will see if the NHL will up their bid to compete in the auction.
Let’s face it, that would put a wrinkle into the situation. Sure he may not want to keep the team in the desert, but if he gets the team, all he really has to do is out wait Gary and hope he can then move his team. And if he doesn’t and the NHL is forced to pay $200 million plus, how happy will the owners be with the commish?
Now that would make things more interesting!