Heatley short on time, but not on rumours

With training camp only days away, any team interested in acquiring the services of Dany Heatley for the upcoming season is looking to make their final pitch to Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray soon--if it's not too late already. Rumours recently have included the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, and Los Angeles Kings, but they're just rumours, after all. With the reticence for people to reveal the legitimacy of the sources they cite, it's always important to hedge your bets on these things.

But let's play hypothetical, for a minute. Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce 'Malkin to the Kings' Garrioch said today that there might be a three-team deal in discussions between Ottawa, San Jose, and Los Angeles wherein Heatley would go to San Jose, Patrick Marleau would--if he'd waive his no-trade clause--go to Los Angeles, and the Senators would receive Jarrett Stoll and Alexander Frolov. It's a deal that could make sense for all three teams, but it's also a deal that's contingent on a lot of uncertainties.

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First of all, the Sharks. They want Heatley, it seems, and he wants to go to there. The primary problem for San Jose is finding the cap space to fit Heater's $7.5M salary under the cap, and after failing to swing a reportedly attempted three-way trade with Montréal Canadiens, maybe the Kings are in the mix. Sharks GM Doug Wilson knows he has to make a splash, and by all accounts he wants to, and Heatley could be hella effective beside centre Joe Thornton. Patrick Marleau has already been stripped of his captaincy, but would he waive his no-trade clause to go to Los Angeles? It's not far from San Jose (certainly a lot closer than Montréal would be), so maybe it's not a far-fetched possibility.

Los Angeles has some great young players, and one presumes they'd like to get a good veteran to help guide them in the right direction--maybe right into the playoffs. Kings' GM Dean Lombardi wants no part of Heatley and the "baggae" that comes therewith, because he's not interested in risking the development of his team's prospects with a player whose reputation--whether rightly or wrongly--is shady at best in the dressing room. But Marleau is well-respected in the league; would he be a piece LA is interested in?

Which, finally (and most importantly), brings us to the Senators.

2008 - Jarret Stoll 74 18 23 41 -7 68 10 0 1 0 155 11.6

2008 - Alexander Frolov 77 32 27 59 -6 30 12 1 1 2 176 18.2

Murray has said he wants a second-line centre, and the Sens have really never had one; Jarrett Stoll might fit that role. He can put up a reasonable amount of points, and would add another piece to the Senators' powerplay--strong last season, and should be once again, with the likes of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Alexei Kovalev, Filip Kuba, and possibly Erik Karlsson. He's a Murray-type player, not afraid to get into puck battles and win them, and that would help out the Senators' wingers who aren't as physical. Alexander Frolov could sit on the first line wing position, or play second line, but he's another effective powerplayer who will put up points.

But this still doesn't seem to meet Murray's asking price. In the Edmonton Oilers deal, evidently the only one Murray has deemed acceptable, included two top-six forwards and a top-four defenceman. If this trade were sweetened, perhaps with high draft choices from San Jose, it could be a slam dunk.

But there are so many unresolved issues. Reports are that Los Angeles was on Heatley's list of acceptable destinations, but would Marleau waive his no-trade clause? Would LA want to trade a couple promising youngsters for a veteran who's done next to nothing in the playoffs? Can a deal of this complexity be completed in a reasonable period of time? Would the Senators ask for more, and, if so, would that demand be met? Time will tell.

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