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Unhappy with role, Heatley still wants out of Ottawa

Friday, 08.21.2009 / 4:40 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Disgruntled Dany Heatley broke his summer-long silence Friday, announcing that his request for a trade out of Ottawa still stands and the reason he nixed a potential trade to Edmonton earlier this summer was because he wants multiple options for where he could continue his career and he has never gotten that from the Senators.

"There's nothing with Edmonton personally, I just think when we asked for a trade we wanted to go about it together and we wanted some options and to this date there has only one option," Heatley said during a conference call he conducted from his summer home in Kelowna, B.C. "At the time the only option was Edmonton and I wasn't ready to make a decision at that time and I'm still not ready to make a decision until there are other options."

Heatley, whose trade request became public on June 9, said he's wants out of Ottawa because he feels his role has diminished over the last two years, specifically last season. He said he wants to go to a team that believes he can be a player in all situations.

Senators GM Bryan Murray has speculated that driving Heatley's request is the diminished ice time he got under coach Cory Clouston after the coach took over for Craig Hartsburg on Feb. 2.
Murray still hears Dany Heatley's call to be traded and is trying to work with the disgruntled winger to get him out of Ottawa, but he doesn't think he'll be able to come up with the options that Heatley is seeking before agreeing to a deal.

"I think the main reason for me is when I signed in Ottawa two years ago I thought it was to be an integral part of the team over the last two years I feel my role has diminished and especially this past season it diminished a lot more. A diminished role is the biggest thing. I feel I'm a player who can play in a lot of different situations. I'm an offensive guy but I take pride in all aspects of the game and I don't feel I was given that role on the team."
-- Dany Heatley

Speaking on a conference call Friday, roughly two and a half hours after Heatley announced his trade request still stands and he wants out because of what he depicts as a diminished role with the Senators, Murray said he's had talks with "three or four teams" about Heatley but "only one or two, in my way of thinking, are real, real serious."

"I told them if they're not somewhat straight forward in the proposal in the next few days I have to, at some point in time, say Dany is going to come to training camp," Murray said. "I don't think there will be two or three teams to pick and choose between. If I can get one more deal that is somewhat realistic for our team and propose it to their side that would probably be the limit."

When asked about his relationship with Clouston, Heatley didn't go into detail, but he did say that if no trade is made by the time training camp opens next month than he will honor his contract with the Sens.

Heatley still has five years and more than $30 million left on a deal he signed two years ago. It calls for a $7.5 million annual cap hit, which has no doubt made it more difficult for Murray to trade him in this tight market.

"It's definitely not Cory solely," Heatley said. "I think the main reason for me is when I signed in Ottawa two years ago I thought it was to be an integral part of the team over the last two years I feel my role has diminished and especially this past season it diminished a lot more. A diminished role is the biggest thing. I feel I'm a player who can play in a lot of different situations. I'm an offensive guy but I take pride in all aspects of the game and I don't feel I was given that role on the team."

Even though the Oilers are the only team that has publically put on the full court press to get Heatley -- President Kevin Lowe and GM Steve Tambellini visited him in Kelowna and sent him a recruitment video -- Heatley firmly believes there are other teams out there that are interested. It's why he is continuing on with his trade request.

"I don't feel I can make the right decision until there are a few options," Heatley said. "(The Oilers) were not on my initial list of teams I gave the Senators to talk to (in early June). When that trade came up it came as a big surprise and I wasn't ready at that time nor am I now to make that decision."

The problem, though, is that the Senators obviously want value in return for Heatley, who has 180 goals and 362 points since 2005, but the marketplace has been lukewarm at best. And, since most teams have their rosters and salary caps set for the 2009-10 season, trading him before training camps open could prove to be impossible.

If Murray can't move him, he will have to clear some salary to get under the cap.

"I have a contract and I'm going to honor that contract," Heatley said. "If I'm still a Senator at training camp time I'll be there ready to go. I'm a hockey player and I'll play to the best of my ability wherever I am. At the same time, we know there are other teams interested and hopefully something can get done."

Judging by his comments, Heatley's public image, which has taken a brutal beating since his request became public during the Stanley Cup Final, is the least of his concerns.

Senators' fans are angered with him, hockey fans in Edmonton feel slighted by him and pundits across the League are painting him as a selfish guy, but Heatley remains steadfast in believing he will be accepted as a team guy wherever he winds up.

"I think anyone that has played with me knows I'm a team guy," Heatley said. "The way this has gone this summer has been unfortunate, but as far as my reputation, anyone I have ever played with or played for has thought of me as a good teammate."

Heatley held the conference call just three days before the start of Canada's Olympic orientation camp in Calgary.

Hockey Canada was hoping Heatley would break his silence before arriving in Calgary so the focus at the camp could be on going for gold in Vancouver instead of on Heatley. President Bob Nicholson got in touch with Heatley this week to persuade him.

"Hockey Canada really appreciates that he did the press conference today," Nicholson said during a conference call later Friday. "We wanted to make sure anything that could be a distraction for this camp was removed. I didn't hear all the answers Dany gave, but I know he's been a good member when he's played for Team Canada, so we appreciate that."

Team Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman told NHL.com that Heatley made the right move.

"It's more Dany and Ottawa's situation than the Olympic team, but the fact that he hadn't spoken to the media, and obviously there will be a lot of media there in Calgary, it's better for him and the program to get it out of the way sooner rather than later," Yzerman said. "He's going to have to face the media at some point and I think it was a good decision by him and his agent, Stacey McAlpine, to do it now."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com




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