HOLY SHIT THIS DAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED. It's true what they say: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Trade discussion and rumours were at an all-time high leading into the training camp weekend, and with Heatley's absence at the team's charity golf tournament on Friday, it seemed inevitable that the trade was going to happen and the disgruntled winger wouldn't be suiting up for the Senators.
In return for the two-time 50-goal scorer, Ottawa gets a one-time 50-goal scorer in Cheechoo who, along with Michalek, will flesh out the Senators' top-six forward ranks. In terms of salary, the Senators' dumped Heatley's $7.5M cap hit but picked up $4.3M for Michalek (whose contract runs through 2013-14), and $3M for Cheechoo (on contract through next season), meaning an overall savings of less than $200k.
|2008 - Milan Michalek||77||23||34||57||11||52||6||0||6||1||179||12.8|
Michalek scored 57P in 77GP last season (23G, 34A), his fourth as a full-time NHLer. His best year was 2006-07, where he had 26G and 40A in 78GP. He's got all-world speed, and would fall into the second-line left-winger spot quite well. It might mean Nick Foligno could get bumped to the third line, but that might be a more fitting place for Foligno.
|2008 - Jonathan Cheechoo||66||12||17||29||-3||59||5||1||4||0||152||7.9|
Last season was Cheechoo's worst statistically since his rookie year, and he also suffered from injury setbacks at various points. His offensive numbers in all categories have steadily declined since 2005-06, when he won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL's top scorer with 56G and also had 37A for 93P overall, down to 69P in 2006-07, 37P in 2007-08, and finally to last year's forgettable 29P. Should he return to form as a goal-scorer, he could do well with a spot on the Jason Spezza's wing along with Alex Kovalev or Daniel Alfredsson, but if not he could be a debilitating use of salary cap space.
Immediate reaction to the trade seems to be negative for Senators fans, who think that Ottawa hasn't received full value in the trade. I'm not yet ready to call it a full loss yet, though. Michalek and Cheechoo both had off-years last season, which seems even more depressing given how successful San Jose was as an organization, but there is a chance they could bounce back to give Ottawa a very strong top-six forward corps. Time will tell.