Bryan Murray is talking tough, but the Dany Heatley situation isn’t quite as intransigent as he imagines it is.
From the Ottawa Citizen:
Now that the Ottawa Senators have given Dany Heatley his $4 million signing bonus, any deal for the disgruntled winger will have to offer the Senators a bigger return to reflect the payment, general manager Bryan Murray said Thursday morning.
That means the tentative deal he had with the Oilers, even if Heatley were to accept a trade to Edmonton, would have to be rewritten.
That deal would have brought Dustin Penner, Ladislav Smid, and Andrew Cogliano to the Senators.
Murray said he now needs more in return.
A couple of points, if I may:
- Whoever gets Heatley will assume his full cap hit; the Ottawa Senators are not going to be on the hook for that 4-million from a cap perspective. In other words, Murray’s not in a situation where he suddenly needs to send out 4-million worth of contracts (which was Bob McKenzie’s insane suggestion last night) to the Oilers. In other words, if the Oilers are going to kick more into this deal, it should be in the form of assets (a draft pick, or a prospect) rather than taking on more cap hit – which they already would be doing with the proposed package.
- Heatley’s value is not improving as this situation goes on. The Senators’ pay to him just increased by 4-million, but if anything Heatley’s value has diminished over the last week. Murray needs to be very careful in how he handles this – assuming that at this point he is even interested in moving Heatley.
- Ottawa may not be on the hook for that four million dollars. Bill Daly told Mark Spector in an email this morning that he believes Ottawa has strong grounds to file a greivance, which would see the four million transferred from Edmonton. It’s also entirely possible that the NHLPA would not stand in the way of such a greivance, as Heatley would still be getting his money.
With that in mind, I’d be fine with the Oilers offering Ottawa a conditional addition – if the greivance goes well, the initial package of Penner, Cogliano, and Smid is accepted by the Senators; if the greivance fails, Edmonton sends out a prospect or draft pick.
Regardless, the Oilers should not pay more money for an asset whose value just diminished.