McKenzie: Heatley deal to Oilers on hold, for now

Bob McKenzie

7/1/2009 1:47:47 AM

The first thing you should know is that the Dany Heatley trade to Edmonton is not officially dead. At least not yet.

It's true that Dany Heatley did not waive his no-movement clause when requested by the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, but that isn't to say it's not still possible for him to waive it on Wednesday. He has, technically speaking, not issued an outright refusal to move.

The confusion on all of this surrounded a perceived deadline of midnight Tuesday night for the Senators to move Heatley.

The Senators owe Heatley a $4 million signing bonus, to be paid on July 1 (today). The widely-held belief was that if the Senators didn't trade Heatley by July 1, or at midnight Tuesday night, they would be stuck paying it and the expenditure would drastically alter the dynamic of any Heatley trade and what the Senators expect to get in return.

Ottawa had agreed to a deal with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night that would have sent Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid to the Senators in exchange for Heatley. Heatley was asked to waive his no-movement clause by the Senators but he didn't oblige. Which is not the same thing as an outright or unequivocal rejection.

The Senators are still on the clock in their window to trade Heatley without absorbing the cost of the $4 million signing bonus and will be until 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday night.

So while the Senators are painfully aware now that Heatley would in all likelihood prefer not to go to Edmonton, and might look more favorably on a deal to, say, the New York Rangers, another team that was engaged in serious talks with the Senators on Tuesday night, nothing has been settled with any degree of certainty.

No one should suggest Heatley is prepared to waive his no-movement clause to go to Edmonton any more than it should be suggested he absolutely won't.

That final decision has not been made because Heatley's agent, J.P. Barry, believed the actual deadline was at 11:59 p.m. eastern on Wednesday night, not 11:59 p.m. eastern on Tuesday night.

So the soap opera continues, and likely will for the better part of Canada Day and the NHL's annual free-agent frenzy.