"While it is still early, Bryan Murray is my front-runner for executive of the year honors this season. Murray took one very sour lemon and parlayed it into two refreshing glasses of lemonade by moving self-centered Dany Heatley to San Jose for solid NHLers Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek. The trade itself may not go down as one that rocked the sport, but, given the circumstances, Murray clearly pulled a rabbit from his hat and helped his hockey team in the process."
--Jay Feaster, The Hockey News
Wow. I knew that there was a wide range of opinions on the Dany Heatley trade, from those who thought it was highway robbery for the San Jose Sharks to those... well... who though it was a good deal for the Ottawa Senators. In Jay Feaster's column for The Hockey News Monday, though, he makes it abundantly clear what he thinks of Heatley, what he thinks of Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek, and which organization he thinks came away the best in the deal.
I'm not even going to try to summarize Feaster's column; it wouldn't do it justice. Go ahead to the site and give it a read. Then, come back here and let me know what you think about it. If you need another appetizing crumbof encouragement to go read it, well... this should do:
"For a [Sharks] group that appears to need more leadership, grit and mental toughness, how is Heatley the answer? After signing a new long-term contract in Ottawa, (five years left, $7.5-million cap hit per season) Heatley decided he wanted out because he was unhappy with his "reduced role" under new head coach Cory Clouston. Imagine, a head coach with the courage of his convictions."
(Read more... )
Trying to be as impartial as possible, and not to let the sour taste left after Heatley's unceremonious exit affect my analysis, Feaster does have a good point through most of his column. For a team looking to get over that playoff hump, in desperate need of players willing to give up mind, body, and soul for team success, is Heatley something even resembling an answer? This is the player who has left two cities, both of whom had embraced him whole-heartedly, in the lurch. Two organizations who have done everything possible to cater to him have been left to scramble for the best return possible after a trade has become necessary. A player who has played 34 playoff games in seven years as an NHLer.
Then again, this is a player who has 35 points in those 34 playoff games. Two 50-goal seasons. A Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. Six all-star appearances. 543 career points in 507 career games. Tied for the lead in the 2007 NHL playoff scoring race. Canada's all-time leading scorer in World Championship play.
There's plenty you can't see from the numbers, though. I won't go into postulations on his personality off the ice, because I have no idea what that means. I will say it doesn't look good when an unrestricted free agent requests a release from his team, rather than a trade, in order to choose his destination--even if it means the organization which has supported him through incredibly hard times gets nothing for their trouble. I will say that it doesn't look good when a player cites personal statistics to suggest he had a good year when his team just missed the playoffs for the first time in twelve years, as Heatley did in his exit interview with the press last season. I will say that a player who signs a six-year, $49M contract and demands a trade one year into it doesn't appear, at first glance, to be a team player. I will say that a player who finds his perceivably diminished role on the team more pressing a fact than that team's vastly improved performance.
I could probably say more than that, but I won't.
What are your thoughts; how accurate is Feaster in his analysis?