Welcome to The Revisiting Series where we, well, revisit things.
The year was 2009. I was 14. I loved hockey and still do. It was the days leading up to the NHL’s free agency period, and all the talk was about how the Edmonton Oilers were about to acquire Dany Heatley from the Ottawa Senators.
He had just come off a season that saw him score 39 goals and 72 points in 82 games making a formidable top line alongside Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza. That, two years after scoring 50 in ’07.
The club, however, struggled under head coach Craig Hartsburg and made a mid-season coaching change bringing in Cory Clouston.
But things weren’t all smooth sailing for Heatley. Things soured between he and Clouston, and instead of going to GM Bryan Murray on the down-low, Heatley and his agents went public.
Then, it was made public that the Oilers would be one of the teams that Heatley would consider waiving his no-trade clause to. Wow! What a great feeling for Edmonton to have a two-time fifty-goal, 100-point player willing to come to town.
A deal was in place that would’ve seen Edmonton send off Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano, and Ladislav Smid to the nation’s capital for the disgruntled Heatley. The deal was nearly set in stone, but Heatley killed the deal in the 11th hour on June 30 therefore forcing the Senators to pay a $4-million bonus on July 1.
At the time it was a massive gut punch after a few years of some… brutal times. But truth be told, it was probably for the best. Heatley ended up being dealt to the San Jose Sharks for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2010 2nd round pick. His first year in San Jose was solid as he posted 39 goals and 82 points in a full-season.
Heatley had a few more solid years but never was a point-per-game player again and was out of the league five years later.
In terms of what Edmonton would’ve traded away, Penner ended up having a career year in 2009-10 scoring 32 goals and 64 points — both the best of his career — and was eventually traded in 2010-11 to the LA Kings. Edmonton, in return, got a package that included defenceman Colten Tuebert and two picks one of which Edmonton used to draft Oscar Klefbom.
Cogliano, much like Penner, lasted all of one more year with Edmonton before being shipped off to the Anaheim Ducks for a second-round pick that Edmonton used on Marc-Olivier Roy. And Smid lasted himself a few more years before being shipped along with Oliver Roy to the Calgary Flames in a 2014 trade for Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit.
All in all, the Heatley era in Edmonton was a wild time and such, I thought I’d take a look back at what some Oilers scribes of the day had to say.
Oh hey Dany Heatley. Remember when you dissed the entire City of Edmonton – and parts of the outlying communities – by refusing to come to Edmonton despite the fact that a trade had seemingly been completed for your entitled ass?
Remember how awesome you thought you were and how the Oilers Brass lowered themselves to your level sending you Valentines months early, making you DVDs and other romance themed mixtapes?
Now the Oilers are increasingly stacked with the finest young talent that finishing last 45 times in a row can get you. They are signing free agents too – albeit role players for the most part – at fair market values and are improving by the week.
They just signed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a three year entry deal. He wants to play here along side Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall among others who have an outside chance at being correct when they think they might be a special team a few years hence.
And you just got traded to Minnesota for Martin Havlat.
So, as Oilers fans awoke this morning with teeth and fists clenched and cursing Heatley and everybody who reported the done deal, delivering a kick in the collective nuts the way Chris Pronger, Michael Nylander and countless others have done, we’re led to believe there’s still a chance Heatley might yet give Edmonton his blessing.
Sure, there’s still a chance — if Heatley and his camp can’t orchestrate a deal with the New York Rangers before the REAL deadline for the bonus payment ticks by at 11:59 tonight.
Tell me this: how is it that nobody with the Senators or the Oilers had the actual deadline locked down? How is it that the NHL never clarified when the deadline fell? How did everybody get it wrong? Kind of an important detail, don’t you think?
That said, and knowing what we think we know today, does the possibility of landing a 40-50 goal player of Heatley’s stature trump the red flags that surround him?
While I’m not into the “Dany Heatley’s mom wears army boots and dresses him funny” venom that was spewed in Ottawa when he went public with his trade request, for me the answer is no. Not a chance.
The way I see it, the boondoggle that infolded late Tuesday gives the Oilers a chance to reconsider their position, withdraw their offer and run the hell the other way as fast as they can. They should take it.
Ask yourself this: Is Heatley a cornerstone player Tambellini can build his team around for years to come? At $7.5 million per season in a salary cap world, he’d damn sure better be. Are you thinking, “maybe” or are you thinking “no?” Anybody thinking “yes” please raise your hands.
The best thing for the Oilers is that this deal stays undone. Heatley isn’t the answer.
On Twitter: @zjlaing