Dany Heatley Breathes a Sigh of Relief
"We were kind of joking around with it," Heatley said on a conference call Saturday after being traded from Ottawa to San Jose. "There was talk of San Jose as well. It was fun to get out on the ice with those guys."
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said on the same call that Heatley is the kind of player who will make the team better now and, more importantly, later in the year.
"He's a great fit for us, something we've been looking for," Wilson said. "There aren't many guys in the league that have his skill set, to score 50 goals and to be selected to the camp for probably the hardest team in the world to make. A player of this caliber only makes you better, highly motivated and just coming into his prime."
Wilson swung the deal without parting with Marleau, the franchise's all-time leading scorer; left wing Jonathan Cheechoo, one of the Sharks most popular players, is going to the Senators along with Milan Michalek. There was no three-way deal on the table: "Our focus was purely between Ottawa and ourselves," said Wilson, who again criticized an ESPN report Thursday night that Marleau was going to the Kings while Heatley was coming to San Jose.
Heatley said that San Jose always was on the list he'd provided the Senators when he requested a trade after last season. Earlier this summer, it was reported that he'd nixed a deal to Edmonton, but the Sharks -- who won the President's Trophy last season -- are a team that Heatley is excited to play for. He knows several of the players, and head coach Todd McLellan coached Heatley in the World Junior Championships. Assistant general manager Wayne Thomas played at Wisconsin with Heatley's father, Murray.
More than anything, Heatley is just happy to get a summer of uncertainty over with; he was a figure of controversy after the trade request and the Edmonton refusal were made public. "It was tough," he said. "It wasn't the greatest summer. The way it went down, I don't think was the way anyone wanted. But I'm relieved to be going to San Jose. I'm glad it's come to a resolution."
Wilson had cleared some cap space by dealing defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver, and he said that he believes that Heatley's salary (which averages about $7.5 million per season), is reasonable. "What we don't want to have is golden handcuffs or a retirement plan," Wilson said. "He's 28 years old, we do feel this is very fair."
Is Wilson concerned that Heatley will want out in San Jose after asking to be moved in Atlanta and Ottawa? No.
"We are all completely comfortable with the type of player Dany is and person he is," Wilson said.
Wilson indicated that while he is happy to field calls from other clubs, the current roster is the one that the Sharks will boast going into the season.
"We're right where we are right now," Wilson said, adding, "We're done talking. It's about getting it done on the ice."