The Ottawa Senators have sent Dany Heatley to the San Jose Sharks, along with a fifth round pick, for Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a second round pick.
The Sharks get: A winger who not only can keep up with Joe Thornton, but many will argue that it is Big Joe who will need to keep up with Heatley. Question for Dany – since he was only traded to San Jose and no other team stepped up with an acceptable trade offer, does that mean he doesn’t have any “options”? Will he not waive his no-trade clause now, either? One would think so. After all, he didn’t waive it in a trade for Edmonton because there were no other options and he insists that he wanted “options”. (Note: he did waive it, despite the lack of “options”). How do you feel about this, Oiler fans?
The Sens get: A pretty good draft pick (a late second), a pretty good second liner, and a cash vacuum. Let’s face it, the Sens were forced to take Cheechoo and his $6 million remaining over the next two years, or SJ would not have done the deal.
Fantasy players impacted: First, the easy team. San Jose. Heatley was probably going back to his 90 or 100-point ways regardless. Is Thornton a step up from Jason Spezza as a linemate? That’s debatable. I would call it a wash and assume Heatley will have a shot at 100 again this year – as I always figured.
On the other hand, Thornton will thrive. No longer will he be forced to play with second liners such as Milan Michalek, Patrick Marleau or Devin Setoguchi…or fifth liners such as Cheechoo. Nope, he’s hit the big time with one of the best wingers in the game. If he was going to get back up over 110 points, it will be this season. So will it be Marleau-Thornton-Heatley or Heatley-Thornton-Setoguchi? I have a feeling it will be one or the other to start the year, and then 10 games in flip to the other troika…before switching back and forth every 10 games or so after that. On the off chance that a trio really clicks – it would obviously mean gold for either Marleau or Setoguchi. A distant candidate to also consider is Ryane Clowe. Put me down for Setoguchi at 55%, Marleau at 35% and Clowe at 10%.
Getting rid of two forwards and only bringing one back will help the youngsters – mainly Jamie McGinn and Logan Couture. Their odds of making the team just went up, and if they do make the team you can pad another 10 or 15 points onto their totals.
You have to like San Jose’s power play now. Dan Boyle, Rob Blake and M.E. Vlasic all just became a little more valuable. And finally, I think this will help the Sharks win a couple more games. Just another reason to like Evgeni Nabokov.
And the muddier picture, which becomes a little more muddled. Ottawa moved a forward out whom they already replaced (with Alexei Kovalev) and yet they just brought in two more. Cheechoo will immediately get to audition on the first line. Since they’re paying him so much and he is in a new environment, the team will hope to rekindle things. Will it pan out? 80-20 says “no”. But for the first 20 games, look for him to play with Spezza and probably Daniel Alfredsson, with somebody moving to the wrong wing. On the second line, you would see either Mike Fisher or Ryan Shannon, who has played some center, in between Michalek and Kovalev. That’s the best way to break it down. I think the Sens would like to see Shannon take the second line spot because Fisher has proved that he is a top checker who can post 45-55 points, but asking for something in the top six just doesn’t work. Shannon, on the other hand, has yet to be tested there and his coach and GM have high expectations. He’ll get a shot.
So do the Senators improve their scoring with Kovalev, Michalek and Cheechoo over Heatley? No, but they didn’t do too bad, considering.