Dany Heatley's favorite words Saturday."Excited" was one of
"Relieved" followed close behind.
Heatley finally got his wish Saturday when the Ottawa Senators ended months of speculation and controversy by granting his trade request, sending him and a fifth-round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft to the San Jose Sharks in a blockbuster deal that netted Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round 2010 pick.
"I've been there a few times, other than playing, I know it's a great team, a great city," Heatley said during a conference call. "I know a few of the players on the team and I'm excited to be with those guys and play for the Sharks.
"It was tough. It wasn't the greatest summer, no question. The way it went down, obviously I don't think anybody wanted. I'm relieved, definitely. I'm excited to be going to San Jose and glad it's come to a resolution."
Heatley, 28, scored 50 goals in each of his first two seasons in Ottawa, then tallied 41 goals during the 2007-08 season. He finished last season with 39 goals and 72 points, but was unhappy with his role after the Senators fired coach Craig Hartsburg and replaced him with Cory Clouston.
Ottawa had previously reached an agreement to send Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers, only to have him invoke his no-trade clause. Heatley later said he believed there were other teams interested in acquiring him, and he wanted to have other options to consider before he made a decision.
Heatley's trade request and subsequent refusal to accept the deal the Senators had made with the Oilers created an uproar in Ottawa, and a potentially awkward situation was on the horizon with training camps set to open this weekend.
"When I looked (Heatley) in the eye and talked to him, I knew the minute he walked out the door that I had to trade him," Senators GM Bryan Murray said of a conversation he had with the player Friday. "I didn’t think there was any chance (he'd change his stance).
"Dany did report here (today). He’s been fine around the room. But as I said to (Senators captain) Daniel Alfredsson this morning, what we should care about here is the core of this hockey team and how we can help the guys become a competitive team again."
Heatley said Murray called him in around 2 p.m. Eastern time to inform him of the trade and he spoke to Sharks GM Doug Wilson immediately afterward. Wilson followed Heatley on the conference call and insisted he wasn't the least bit concerned about his new star's messy end in Ottawa.
"We're completely comfortable with the type of player Dany is and the type of person he is," Wilson said. "Often there are cases where players ask for a trade. … Some of the best players in this League have been traded and gone on to success. I have zero concern, and I'm excited about where he is today."
The trade gives both the Senators and Sharks new talent and fresh blood as they attempt to turn their recent fortunes around. San Jose has been seeking the player who will finally help the franchise break through in the postseason after years of regular-season dominance. The Sharks won the Presidents' Trophy last season with 53 wins and 117 points, but were knocked out of the playoffs in six games by Anaheim in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
"There are not many guys in the League who have his skill set to score 50 goals and be the type of player selected to the camp of the team hardest in the world to make, the Canadian Olympic team," Wilson said. "When you get a player of this caliber it can only make your team better, especially a highly motivated player and especially a guy who's just coming into his prime."
Heatley, the second pick in the 2000 Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, won the Calder Trophy in 2001-02 after putting up 26 goals and 67 points. He emerged as a star the following season, totaling 41 goals and 89 points, and was traded to Ottawa for Marian Hossa prior to the 2005-06 season.
Heatley has registered 260 goals and 543 points in 507 regular-season games, adding 10 goals and 35 points in 34 postseason games.
"Obviously it's a great team without me. I feel I can bring a lot of things to the team," Heatley said. "I'm obviously an offensive guy who can do a lot of things and I'm looking forward to being part of that."
Heatley expects to acclimate quickly to the San Jose dressing room, having familiarity with a number of the Sharks players.
"I know Blakey (defenseman Rob Blake) a little bit from playing in the last Olympics, I know Patty Marleau pretty well. Joe Pavelski is a Wisconsin guy I know well, Dan Boyle … there are quite a few guys I know, who I played with around the League," he said.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan also coached Heatley in 2000 at the World Junior championships in Sweden.
Material from team media was used in this report.