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Sharks acquire Heatley from Senators

by Staff
Dany Heatley finally got his wish on Saturday.

Ending months of speculation and controversy after Heatley expressed his desire for a trade out of Ottawa, the Senators have completed a blockbuster deal with the San Jose Sharks in which they will acquire Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Along with Heatley, the Senators will send the Sharks their fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft.

''I'm excited obviously, I'm excited to be a Shark,'' Heatley told TSN. ''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.''

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 Edmonton, 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 coming week.

"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."

The trade gives both the Senators and Sharks new talent and fresh blood as they attempt to turn their recent fortunes around. After making the Stanley Cup Final and losing to Anaheim in 2007, Ottawa was swept in the first round by Pittsburgh the following season and finished 11th in the Eastern Conference last season.

Now they add the enigmatic Cheechoo, whose production has tailed from 56 goals and 93 points in 2005-06 to 12 goals and 29 points last season, and Michalek, the sixth pick in the 2003 Entry Draft, who turns 25 in December and already has three-straight 20-goal seasons to his credit.

San Jose, meanwhile, was seeking the player who would finally help the franchise break through in the postseason after years of regular-season dominance. The Sharks won the President's 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.

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.

Cheechoo has career totals of 165 goals and 291 points in 440 regular-season games and posted 16 goals and 35 points in 58 postseason games.

Michalek has totaled 91 goals and 214 points in 317 regular-season games, plus 10 goals and 16 points in 39 postseason games.

"I think it’s a better team. I think we’ll be a harder working team," Murray said. "We’d be remiss if I ever said we could replace the goals that Dany Heatley was able to score. I’m hoping that when we look at the whole mix, with (Alex) Kovalev coming here and these two players, that we will make it up in other ways."
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