Cheechoo Traded Back Home To Ottawa Senators
Now Has Shot At Stanley Cup
(API) September 14, 2009
Jonathan Cheechoo now has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, as Dany Heatley finally got his wish Saturday when the Ottawa Senators ended months of speculation and controversy by granting his trade request, sending him and a fifth-round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft to the San Jose Sharks in a blockbuster deal that netted Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek, and a second-round 2010 pick.
With Spezza or Fisher at center and Rutuu or Foligno at left wing; and with newly acquired All-Star MVP, Alex Kovalev, on power plays, Cheechoo is sure to make a run at his 56 goal “Rocket Richard” season of 2006.
Heatley, 28, scored 50 goals in each of his first two seasons in Ottawa, then tallied 41 goals during the 2007-08 season. He finished last season with 39 goals and 72 points, but was unhappy with his role after the Senators fired coach Craig Hartsburg and replaced him with Cory Clouston.
The six-foot-four, 220-pound native of Freiburg, Germany was originally selected by Atlanta in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (1st round, 2nd overall). He was traded to Ottawa in exchange for Marian Hossa and Greg DeVries on Aug. 23, 2005.
Cheechoo, originally selected in the second round (29th overall) by the Sharks in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, leaves ranked fifth on the Sharks all-time points list with 291 (165 goals, 126 assists), third in goals and 10th in games played (440). He also notched 304 penalty minutes and scored 62 power play goals.
He has scored the fourth-most goals of any player who has entered the NHL since his rookie season in 2002-03 and won the 2006 Maurice “Rocket’ Richard Award as the NHL’s top goal scorer, setting a Sharks franchise record with 56 goals.
By leaving San Jose, Cheechoo now embarks on an actual chance to win the coveted Stanley Cup – a feat in doubt in San Jose with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau who seem to ‘curl up in fetal positions’ during post-season play, according to most analysts. With Cheechoo in the lineup a game is never over until the final buzzer, as Cheechoo has most of his points in the third period and scored the most game winning goals in 2006.
Michalek, a first round selection by San Jose (6th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, posted 57 points last season (23 goals, 34 assists) in 77 games. In 317 career NHL games, all with San Jose, Michalek has posted 214 points (91 goals, 123 assists) (ninth on the Sharks all-time list) and 184 penalty minutes.
Ottawa had previously reached an agreement to send Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers, only to have him invoke his no-trade clause. Heatley later said he believed there were other teams interested in acquiring him, and he wanted to have other options to consider before he made a decision.
Heatley's trade request and subsequent refusal to accept the deal the Senators had made with the Oilers created an uproar in Ottawa, and a potentially awkward situation was on the horizon with training camps set to open this weekend.
"We're completely comfortable with the type of player Dany is and the type of person he is," Wilson said. "Often there are cases where players ask for a trade. … Some of the best players in this League have been traded and gone on to success. I have zero concern, and I'm excited about where he is today – we will sure miss Jonathan, though"
The trade gives both the Senators and Sharks new talent and fresh blood as they attempt to turn their recent fortunes around.