Dany Heatley. What comes to mind when you hear that name? Selfish, aloof, indecisive, controversial, contradictory, and unpredictable are some of the adjectives that come to mind when thinking about the enigmatic dual citizenship holder. The Calgary-raised winger requested a trade from Ottawa at the end of the postseason, without his teammates having any idea about his dissatisfaction with the organization, according to teammate Daniel Alfredsson. The Ottawa Captain has tried to reach the 2000 2nd overall pick, but to no avail.
While Ottawa players try to figure out what to make of the Heatley situation, the hot stove has remained lit up thanks to the Senator forward declining a trade to Edmonton, reportedly for defenseman Ladislave Smid, and forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano. After J.P. Barry, Heatleyís agent, informed Senator GM Bryan Murray that the deal was being nixed by his client, a power he has as the result of a no-movement clause in his 6 year, $45 million contract from last summer, Ottawa had to fork over a $4 million bonus to the former Thrasher for being on the roster through July 1st. At this point, Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk increased the price for Heatley because of the paid roster bonus and any positive thoughts he had of the left winger went out the window.
However, there was more to the story. As it turns out, Heatley gave the Senator organization a list of teams that heíd waive his no-movement clause to go to, and Edmonton wasnít one of the teams on the list. So it seems that both parties share some of the fault, though itís debatable as to which side has caused more drama. Heatley has requested a trade before, when he was in Atlanta, though the circumstances were significantly different. Back in 2005, the southpaw skater was trying to get away from the horrific memory of a car accident involving himself and teammate Dan Snyder, despite Snyder's family being very supportive of Heatley in Atlanta. Fast forward to the present, in 2009, and while no one is completely sure of Heatleyís reasons for a trade request, it seems that heís looking to join a team he views as a perennial playoff contender.
So where does that leave us on July 16th? It leaves us with plenty of trade rumors and speculation to discuss. Heatley to San Jose? Itís been mentioned before. Speculation that Marleau could be involved? Of course. There have been rumors involving Heatley going to the Sharks, Blue Jackets, Rangers, Oilers, Wild, and Avalanche in 2-way and 3-way deals. A 3-way deal involving the Real Madrid and the Oakland Raiders (hey, he skates fast)? Eklund has probably covered that one with an Ďe3.í The bottom line is that there have been so many stories within the Dany Heatley trade request saga that no one is really sure what could happen in the next few minutes, or the next few days. It would be a bit surprising though if he stays in Ottawa, considering all of the damaged relationships with management and teammates that would have to be amended.
So while the Heatley situation plays out, teams should be asking themselves one thing: Is it worth it to make a trade for the 28 year old? Well, letís take a look at his career GVT numbers:
Team(s) P Season Rank GP Val OG Val D Val S Total
Atlanta Thrashers F 01_02 131 82 10.1 0.1 0.0 10.2
Atlanta Thrashers F 02_03 18 77 20.4 2.3 0.0 22.7
Atlanta Thrashers F 03_04 339 31 4.3 0.2 0.0 4.5
Ottawa Senators F 05_06 14 82 20.2 4.1 -0.5 23.8
Ottawa Senators F 06_07 11 82 21.8 3.2 -0.3 24.7
Ottawa Senators F 07_08 25 71 16.6 4.5 -1.2 19.9
Ottawa Senators F 08_09 68 82 11.7 3.3 -1.1 13.0
Total F 01_09 86.5 507 105.1 17.7 -3.1 119.8
While the German-born forward has had a relatively healthy career, it seems that he is beginning the downside of his time in the NHL. This is not completely unexpected, as most hockey forwards reach their peak between the ages of 23 and 26. Interestingly enough, Heatleyís defensive value seems to be a lot better now than earlier in his career, but heís not good enough defensively to make up for his diminishing offensive abilities.
Expect Heatley to be 13.0 goals above replacement level, for a total GVT of 13.0 for next year, with a split of a 10.0 offensive GVT, 3.0 defensive GVT and a 0.0 shootout GVT. In terms of more traditional statistics, 33 Goals, 37 Assists and 70 Points is a good baseline for 2009-2010 production expectations. In other words, heís still a solid left winger, but his days as a top 10, or even a top 25 player are behind him.
So, back to the original question: Is it worth it to trade for Dany Heatley. Well, the answer depends on a number of factors. You need to have enough room to accommodate his $7.5 million salary for the 2009-2010 season, which is also his cap hit, and you have to realize that Heatleyís production will be more in line with Simon Gagne next year than Rick Nash. If youíre a team with plenty of young talent and plenty of cap room with elite-level players, and youíre looking to add a good contributor to the squad, then Heatley is your guy. If your cap situation is decent, but not great, and you have a bunch of solid, but not great players, and youíre looking to add Heatley with the expectations that he will be the most productive player on your team, then you need to take a step back and think things through, because Heatley is not your guy. You can probably figure out which teams Iím referring to in this, but the bottom line is simple: For some teams, itís worth it to take a chance on Heatley. For others, itís not.
As for how the Heatley situation plays out in the coming days and weeks? Thatís one question I donít have the answer to, but one thing is for sure: Dany Heatley knows how to get the attention of the entire hockey universe.
Andrew Rothstein is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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