This shouldn’t come as a news flash, but the Edmonton Oilers are interested in Dany Heatley and will pick up the phone between now and the NHL Entry Draft and speak to Ottawa GM Bryan Murray about what it might take to pry him from the Senators.
That grasp of the obvious I do have after talking to somebody I trust this afternoon in the wake of reports that Heatley has informed the Senators he’d like to be traded.
That puts the Oilers in line with 13 or 14 other Western Conference teams — Heatley has said he’d prefer to play in the west — and probably a handful of Eastern Conference teams who’ll make an offer regardless of the geography Heatley prefers.
The complicating factor when it comes to the Oilers is I’m told they are also interested in Jay Bouwmeester, who’ll be the most sought-after unrestricted free agent of the summer after July 1.
Sought after enough you can bet there’s a handful of teams, including the Oilers, willing to offer Florida something just for the right to negotiate with the big defenceman.
Heatley or Bouwmeester? You can’t have both.
Teams like the Oilers looking to get into the Heatley sweepstakes will have a $7.5 million cap hit to consider and will have to move some salary Ottawa’s way in any deal.
With Bouwmeester, he’ll also command the same kind of money on the open market, so that will obviously limit the number of teams who’ll be able to bid for his services.
With $46.94 million committed to 18 players for 2009-10, the Oilers are going to have to move salary to be in the running for either player. Both? Nice thought, but absolutely out of the question. No chance. None.
Bet the farm, though, that GM Steve Tambellini will at some point be on the blower to Murray trying to find out what package of players makes sense for the Senators, who can use help on the blueline.
Of course, Murray would be a fool — and he’s not — to make any kind of move before teams descend on Montreal for the Entry Draft. That’ll be a feeding frenzy and Murray will have his pick of offers.
It’s all about the package
There’s already been the obligatory speculation about what kind of package Tambellini might put together to get Murray’s attention, and you can fill in any name you’d like. Armchair GMs, and the guys in the big chair for real, are doing that in cities across the NHL about now.
When I said to the person I talked to today it would make sense to package anybody except Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner, it was suggested that those are the two players Murray might ask for.
That’s a massive overpay in my mind, even for a gifted goal-scorer in his prime like Heatley, but you get the drift — he won’t come cheap, even with the trade request out there.
Still, it’s one or the other, so expect the Oilers to be pitching big-time in the days leading up to the draft for Heatley.
If they can’t get anything done with Murray — maybe he’ll ask the Oilers to top up the deal with $2.5 million at the last second — then it makes sense that Tambellini will turn his attention to Bouwmeester July 1.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.