[EDIT: Well, I already posted this so I'm going to leave it up, but according to TSN, Dany Heatley has REJECTED THE TRADE TO EDMONTON by invoking the no-movement clause in his contract with the Senators. I'm not going to try to express the frustration this leaves (Bryan Murray must be out of his mind) but I've previously offered my thoughts on the limited-movement clauses of players who demand to be moved.]
Multiple networks (or at least Sportsnet) are confirming that Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray was able to deal disgruntled winger Dany Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers for centre Andrew Cogliano, winger Dustin Penner, and defenceman Ladislav Smid. The deal was announced mere hours before July 1, when Heatley was scheduled to receive a $4M salary bonus. The move gives the Senators two top-six forwards, including the franchise's first-ever bona fide second-line centre, another young, mobile defenceman in the team's d-corps, and some degree of salary cap flexibility.
More on the trade after the jump...
It was beginning to look as though the Senators were going to have to pay Heatley's $4M bonus July 1 before being able to trade him, but a very busy evening in the NHL culminated in what might be the most significant transaction of this off-season, depending what happens during tomorrow's free agency period. It looked as though a deal between the Senators and the New York Rangers, who had previously traded Scott Gomez, apparently to clear some salary, but the Oilers were the winners in the Dany Heatley Sweepstakes.
The numbers of the deal benefit the Senators, as Heatley's $7.5M cap hit is less than that coming back. Penner is slated to make $4.25M for next season and the two after, while Cogliano will earn $1.133M next season before becoming an RFA. Smid is still an unrestricted free agent, and earned just under $1M last season--look for him to make between $1-1.5M after negotiations this season.
|2008 - Dustin Penner||78||17||20||37||7||61||5||0||5||1||137||12.4|
Although Penner hasn't had the success with Edmonton that the Oilers were counting on when they signed him to an offer sheet from the Anaheim Ducks, his numbers have been reasonable. He may not be a top-line player, but if he does play top-line minutes with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson--essentially dropping right into Heatley's spot--one would expect his points to rise accordingly. Penner is a power-forward who might make more room for Spezza and Alfredsson to set up plays in the offensive zone, but he could also make an imposing (if overpaid) second line if lined up with Mike Fisher.
|2008 - Andrew Cogliano||82||18||20||38||-6||22||4||0||4||0||116||15.5|
One of the Senators' needs going into the off-season, with or without Heatley, was going to be a second line centre who can add some scoring. Although Cogliano's production dipped last year from his rookie season (he had 18G, 27A, 45P in 2007-08), he's 22 years old and has plenty of more time in this league. If he centres a second line of Ryan Shannon and Nick Foligno, look for a lot of frustrated and weary defencemen with the skilled youth buzzing around the offensive zone. He's also cheap and still has another year of RFA-ness, so should be easy to keep around if things work out next season.
|2008 - Ladislav Smid||60||0||11||11||-6||57||0||0||0||0||33||0.0|
Although Smid is a bit of a head-scratcher in this deal, he's still a young defenceman (23 years old) on a cheap contract with some degree of potential. He will be in tough competition with Senators players and prospects Chris Campoli, Brian Lee, Christoph Schubert, Erik Karlsson, Alex Picard, Patrick Wiercioch, Craig Schira, and possibly even Jared Cowan all competing against him for two to three spots on the Senators' blue line, but if Smid proves to outplay all those teammates then he deserves to be on the squad--who ever said internal competition was a bad thing? His cap hit is unknown at the moment, but his statistics don't warrant a significant raise from the $952k he received this past season.
When all is said and done, the Senators will have given up a two-time 50-goal scorer and a perennial all-star for three players who may never reach such heights, and it's often said that the team receiving the best player always wins a trade. As biased as my opinion on the matter may be, however, I find it difficult to dislike this trade. The Senators will likely (hopefully?) receive as much output from Penner and Cogliano as they would have from Heatley on his own, and the offence will be spread more equitably over a couple of lines--solving the Senators longstanding secondary-scoring woes. The deal also gives the Senators about $1.5M in extra cap space, which may be used come free agency to bring in further offensive support. Perhaps most of all, the deal clears up a lot of uncertainty as to the look of this squad for the 2009-2010 season, and allows the players to focus on the task at hand without having to worry about the distraction of the team's highest scorer pouting on the sidelines. It won't be easy for Cory Clouston, but he's at least got more tools at his disposal now.