Sharks, Heatley Rumblings Increasing
No one is denying anything, and while that doesn't guaranteed a deal is struck, it makes it highly likely that talks are ongoing.
California teams are thought to rank highly on Heatley's list when it comes to his trade demand, plus Sharks assistant general manager Wayne Thomas was teammates with Heatley's father, Murray, at Wisconsin, and he is close to the Heatley family.
The Sharks could use Heatley -- not many teams would say no to a top goal-scorer -- but even more so, the team probably would welcome a means to move Patrick Marleau, most likely to Los Angeles.
Marleau, recently stripped of his captaincy, has a no-trade clause, but because his wife is from San Jose, he might be more amenable to staying within the state rather than going to one of the other rumored destinations this summer, such as Montreal or New Jersey.
When I spoke to Sharks GM Doug Wilson on Monday at the team's rookie game against Anaheim, Wilson said he hadn't asked Marleau to waive the no-trade this summer. It's possible that wouldn't be broached until a trade is solidly in place first; why ask someone to waive the no-trade for something that ends up falling through?
It's also possible that the topic has come up unofficially at some point. Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, for instance, recently told the San Jose Mercury News that he would waive his no-trade clause if the Sharks ever asked him to, because he wouldn't want to play for a team that doesn't want him. (So why have the no-trade clause in the first place? Just add a big bonus in the event of a trade.)
There was speculation when the Sharks moved Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver that the salary cap space was being cleared in the event of a Heatley deal. When I talked to Wilson on Monday, I asked if the current team was the one the Sharks would go into training camp with and he responded by saying that there might be deals right up until March 3.
Something is afoot in San Jose. It now seems as if there is a very real chance of seeing Dany Heatley in teal this season, and that Marleau will move on after failing to take the league's top regular-season team beyond the first round last April. File this one under Definite Maybe.