(Audio from media conference call: File 1 (mp3 format), File 2, File 3).
|Senators GM Bryan Murray believes that forward Dany Heatley can still play a big role in the organization's future if his trade request isn't fulfilled (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Bryan Murray hasn't completely given up on his attempts to satisfy Dany Heatley's trade request.
But the Ottawa Senators general manager believes the time is fast approaching when both sides will have to consider the growing prospect that they'll need to find a way to work together again.
It's something that's not beyond the realm of possibility, he added. Heatley confirmed earlier today that if he's still an Ottawa Senator on Sept. 12, he'll be at Scotiabank Place for the opening day of training camp.
"We want him to come to camp if we don’t trade him," Murray told the media during a conference call on Friday afternoon. "If it gets to that point, it’s a matter of spending some time together and seeing if we can resolve (their differences).
"At this time of the year, I’ll continue to field offers but if (a trade doesn't happen), we have to work together to make it go and hope that the players, the fans and the media accept him as a good player in good standing with the team."
Murray admitted "there has to be some fence-mending with the players. I think they have to know how he’s coming back, what frame of mind he’s in."
That being said, Heatley indicated earlier today that his trade demand still stands. And Murray continues to spend a good chunk of his day trying to find the right dance partner to make it happen.
"With two weeks to go (before camp), we’ve been scrambling," he said. "I think I’ve spent 2-4 hours a day one way or another talking about this issue. We continue to talk. I talked several times yesterday to managers. I think that there’s a possibility. I only takes an hour or so to get a trade done if we can come up with the right pieces.
"The teams that I’m talking to are somewhat interested. It’s a matter of will they step up and give some sort of fair value that allows Ottawa to say 'at least we have a competitive team and we had to make a move that we really didn’t want to make but it still helps us.' Time-wise, we could still do it but we just have to prod a couple of teams to get back to us fairly quickly."
Given the fact that Heatley's sizeable contract still has five years remaining on it, the chore has been anything but easy.
"This has been the biggest issue of all. He’s a high-paid player with a (long) term contract," said Murray. "For a team to acquire to him, you have to have (cap) space, number one. And the list of (teams) that I have (been given) that they’ve approved limits that to a degree. There are better teams in the league that a pretty much stacked with higher salaried players, so for them to acquire him, they do have to make (other) moves.
"That’s the dilemma we’re in. You have to hit on a team that needs a good player, that is willing to pay a price for him and also has cap space."
Only the Edmonton Oilers, who proposed sending forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano and defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Senators for Heatley back on June 30, have found that right fit for Murray. But Heatley wouldn't waive his no-trade clause to approve the deal and said earlier today he wants to see "more options."
However, Murray said the list of suitors still interested in acquiring Heatley's services has now dwindled to only two teams that he considers "real, real serious."
"The teams that I’m talking to are somewhat interested. It’s a matter of will they step up and give some sort of fair value that allows Ottawa to say 'at least we have a competitive team and we had to make a move that we really didn’t want to make but it still helps us.' Time-wise, we could still do it but we just have to prod a couple of teams to get back to us fairly quickly." - Bryan Murray
"Let me assure you, if there was an adequate trade that would make Dany happy and make the Ottawa Senators happy, I would have pursued it very hard," said Murray. "I think (Heatley's camp) believed that I would give them a package of four teams that would give Ottawa whatever it wanted for him and he could pick and choose where to go. That’s not been the case by any means.
"There’s not going to be three or four teams or even two teams. I think if I can find one more trade, somewhat similar to what Edmonton (offered) … if I can get one more deal that is somewhat realistic for our team and I can propose it to their side, then that would probably be the limit."
What would make Murray happiest? Finding a way to keep his two-time 50-goal scorer in the Senators lineup. The Ottawa general manager reiterated again today that it will be almost impossible to find equal value for Heatley in any trade.
"(Heatley) could come back and play real well for us," said Murray. "I think there’s some mending that has to be done and we have to be somewhat open-minded. But I have to think at this point in time, we’re big enough people to make that happen.
"I’d like to see Dany Heatley, if he comes back to our team, resolve this issue with his teammates and the staff and just play as well as he can. Then we’ll deal with what has to be dealt with later on. Whether I like it or not, I’d just like him to play well and help this hockey team get back on track to where it should be."