Bryan Murray may have been officially given the title of the Senators' executive-vice president at a press conference on Tuesday, however he will remain very busy this summer in his original role as the team's general manager.
Murray's biggest obstacle heading into the summer is finding a deal for star winger Dany Heatley has asked for a trade out of the nation's capital. A request that took Murray by surprise.
"I was shocked and disappointed," Murray told reporters. "Number one, I did have a talk at the end of the year in the exit interview. He indicated that he just wanted to talk and he wanted to talk to Corey (Clouston) and there a couple of other issues as well and they were mainly the finger being pointed at him on a few occasions that he didn't think was always fair so we talked about that and he went away to the world championships. Only the Monday before, game 6 in Pittsburgh, the announcement was made by their people they indicated to me they really wanted to get something going."
While the press conference was to announce the Senators front-office shakeup that will see Cyril Leeder replace longtime team president Roy Mlakar, the only thing that reporters wanted to discuss was the Senators trading away one of the top snipers in all of hockey. The move puts Murray in a very vulnerable position, where the rest of the league is aware that he is being forced into making a trade.
"I have had some conversation with several teams. I don't really have a timetable but I have encouraged anybody that is really interested to try to make the contact before the draft and we will get something done by that time I hope."
In addition, Murray admitted that Clouston was devastated by the news.
"The frustrating part for us is we have gone through several coaches here that we couldn't win enough games with," Murray stated. "We brought in a guy the results we were very happy with. The team started to look like a real team again. And then to be kind of blind sided in his way of thinking anyway by one of your players - not wanting to fit in. That's hard for a coach to accept."
In the fall of 2007, Heatley agreed to a six-year, $45 million contract extension with the Senators that kicked in this past season when Heatley scored 39 goals, his lowest total since arriving in Ottawa.
Murray stated that he would like to get a deal done before next week's draft in Montreal but despite the "off-year," Murray realizes it will be difficult to get equal value for a sniper of Heatley's caliber.
"I'm just not going to let him just walk away for nothing as you know. Whether we get the ideal trade or not that is one thing but I have to get something good for this organization coming back."
The agent for Heatley has also submitted a list of teams that the two-time 50 goal scorer was willing to go to, however Murray stated that list will not necessarily be stuck with if he is unable to find the right deal.
"If he doesn't want to be in Ottawa and there is team that offers me a deal that I think is a better deal obviously I have to put some pressure on them to accept that or he may end up playing back here."