The Drama is Over; Heatley Dealt to Sharks

September 12, 2009

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Jeff Ponder

The Drama is Over; Heatley Dealt to Sharks

Ottawa hockey writers can finally take a small break from their hectic summer before the season starts.  Dany Heatley has officially been moved.

It was announced Saturday afternoon that after many talks with the San Jose Sharks, Heatley and a fifth round pick have been traded to the Sharks for right-winger Jonathan Cheechoo, left-winger Milan Michalek and a second round draft choice in 2010.

''I'm excited obviously, I'm excited to be a Shark,'' Heatley said. ''I want to thank everyone in Ottawa, the organization the fans, and the city. I had a great four years here (and) I'm happy to move on.''

The Sharks are happy to bring in the gifted goal scorer, after much publicity about how they would react to their first-round upset loss to the eighth-seeded Anaheim Ducks last season.  The Sharks have just recently addressed their problem, sending defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver for a few prospects and now bringing in Heatley to help the scoring from the wings.

While losing Michalek and Cheechoo has the potential to hurt the Sharks with scoring from the third and fourth lines, Heatley will add a powerful punch to an already strong first or second line.  Star center Joe Thornton has been the part of an ongoing experiment in San Jose which involves rotating different skaters on his line to find a good fit for the big center.  Thornton found chemistry with forward Patrick Marleau and winger Devin Setoguchi throughout different parts of last season, but this move allows Marleau to move back to his more-comfortable center position so that the Sharks can have a more balanced attack.  If Heatley can find chemistry with “Jumbo Joe,” hockey fans could be seeing the greatest duo in the league this season.

While the Senators may not have gotten the better end of the deal, they probably ended up better off than if they took the first trade that was leaked to the media with the Sharks.  Wednesday night, ESPN.com and NHL.com were reporting that a deal was in place to send Heatley to the Sharks in a three-way trade.  The Sharks would have gotten Heatley, the Los Angeles Kings would have acquired Patrick Marleau and the Senators would have brought in Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll.  The report was instantly denied by all three general managers of the respected clubs and it looked like the trade talks were at a standstill.  That is until this breaking news was officially released on Saturday.

While both of the Kings players would still be decent returns, the Senators may be better off with Michalek and Cheechoo.  Michalek, a forward who has played all of his five NHL seasons with the Sharks, adds speed and a good set of hands to the Senators lineup.  The Czech Republic native notched 23 goals and 57 points for the Sharks last season, including five game-winning goals. 

Jonathan Cheechoo has rapidly seen his numbers decline considering he is just 29 years old.  His breakout season in 2005-06 was something to behold.  Cheechoo racked up 56 goals in 82 games playing alongside Joe Thornton, but put together a dismal 12 goal season in 2008-09.  He has been demoted to a checking-line player at best, killing penalties and getting the occasional power-play time.  The Eastern Conference may help mold Jonathan back into his 50-goal style though, since he has good speed and knows how to hit the net.  The East offers more open-ice and skating room due to the lack of defensive play compared to the West, so the Moose Factory native may very well impress some people in Ottawa.

This trade has the potential to be a smart move for both teams.  If Heatley can find a line-mate that he can gel with and Cheechoo and Michalek can bring some of that offensive magic to the Senators, both teams could look back at the end of the season and be extremely happy with their decisions.

Keywords: alexander frolov, brad lukowich, christian ehrhoff, dany heatley, devin setoguchi, jarret stoll, joe thornton, jonathan cheechoo, milan michalek, nhl, patrick marleau, san jose sharks

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