13 September 2009
So Dany Heatley finally got his wish on Saturday, September 12th. Heatley and a 5th round pick head to San Jose while Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2nd round pick are moving to Ottawa.
But after all the speculation and rumors and demands, I look at this trade and my first thoughts are: "So what?"
This is a trade that will help Ottawa, yes; they got rid of the unhappy Heatley, and receive a 2nd round pick to nab a young prospect. But Cheechoo has not been too great an offensive force since winning the Rocket Richard trophy in 2006, and Michalek doesn't combine with Cheechoo greatly enough to equal a tandem sizeable to fill the gap left by Heatley. It was obvious that there were little options out there for Ottawa to get full return for what they'd lose in Heatley, and while they receive a decent duo in return, it's likely not enough to change this team for the better and get them back in the playoffs.
And look at San Jose, they lose Cheechoo and Michalek, and just a few weeks ago also traded away Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver. Yes they get Heatley, but they're remodeling this team a little late.
Don't get me wrong, the combo of Heatley getting passes from Joe Thornton is a scary though. Thornton is a great set up man and now has an excellent finisher in Heatley. And yes, Heatley has had a successful playoff run with the Senators when they went to the Finals in 2007. But one man's experience and goal scoring ability isn't going to be enough to turn an entire team's postseason failure around just like that. While I wouldn't be surprised if the "professional" prognosticators start picking the Sharks to represent the Western Conference in this year's Stanley Cup Finals, I personally do not see it happening.
Ottawa has gotten rid of an unhappy Heatley, which will help locker room morale, but what they received in return was not enough to fill his void, they're not any closer to the playoffs without him then they were with him. And San Jose gives up two players for one, granted a very good one, but depth has taken a small blow. San Jose is marginally improved at best, and for a team that hasn't gotten past the second round of the playoffs since the lookout, they needed more than just a marginal improvement to be considered a true threat.
The Heatley trade demand, nixed Edmonton trade, and now the San Jose deal have dominated the offseason trade news while a Phil Kessel trade has been under the radar. But in the end, a rumored deal to send Kessel to Toronto may end up making a bigger impact on those teams than the Heatley trade will on the Sharks and Sens, despite making much more noise since June.
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