Sens deal Heatley to Sharks for Michalek, Cheechoo Staff

9/13/2009 5:10:29 PM

Disgruntled forward Dany Heatley has gotten his wish.

Heatley and a fifth round draft pick have been traded to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a second round pick.

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

Trade discussions heated up on Friday and Saturday morning before a deal was finally agreed upon - a deal that sends Heatley to the team he secretly wanted to play for all along, a team he believed was an option when he refused to waive his no-move clause to accept a trade to the Edmonton Oilers.

"It's a deal that we talked about throughout the summer, although Michalek came in late," Senators GM Bryan Murray said after announcing the deal some six hours into the first day of training camp.

"I talked to Dany (on Friday) and he was adamant that he wanted to be moved. And we felt based on that, more than anything, that we should get the value that we could get for him and move on. What we care about are the guys that are in our room and we feel that this makes the core group know where they are going forward."

Murray spoke with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk who told his GM: "if this is a deal you feel will make our team better or make the room better - do it."

Saturday's trade ends a saga that began with a verbal trade request in mid-May, a request, sources say, that led to several discussions between Heatley, Murray, Senators coach Cory Clouston, as well as Heatley's agents, JP Barry and Stacey McAlpine.

Ottawa responded to Heatley's trade demand by asking the request be put in writing.

Two days after the Senators received written confirmation from Heatley, the story broke publicly and the veteran forward quickly became a target for disdain in the nation's capital.

''I don't think I did anything wrong asking for a trade,'' Heatley said. ''I have my reasons for it. If people think differently of me that's fine but I believe I did nothing wrong and I'm happy to move on.''

Heatley became unhappy with his role in Ottawa last season, especially after the Senators made a coaching change. He discussed his concerns about what he felt was the limiting of his ice time and his shift from the first power-play unit to the second unit with coach Clouston in the Senators' end-of-season meetings.

He also addressed the public ahead of the National Team Orientation Camp in late August.

"When I signed in Ottawa two years ago, I felt it was to be an integral part of the team," Heatley said. "Over the last two years and more recently over the past year, I feel my role was diminished. This past season, it diminished a lot more.

"This is a straight hockey decision. I have nothing against the fans of Ottawa, or the city of Ottawa. I would like the opportunity to go somewhere where I can play to the best of my capabilities and be the player that I can be."

Earlier this summer, Heatley used the no-movement clause in his contract to veto a move to the Oilers in exchange for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid.

"It has nothing to do with Edmonton," Heatley said last month. "It has everything to do with the options. To this date there has only been one option, and I know that there are other teams out there. I don't feel I can make the right decision until there are a few options and I can make the right decision for my career."

The Senators have gone downhill since they appeared in the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.

In the 2007-08 season, the Senators had a hot start but struggled in the second half. They finished the season in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.

This past season, the Senators never really got it going and missed the playoffs. Heatley notched 39 goals and 33 assists in 82 games in the effort. The 72 points were his lowest point totals in his four seasons with the Senators.

The 28 year-old Heatley had back-to-back 50 goal seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Michalek, 24, is a five-year veteran of the NHL who spent his entire career with the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round (6th overall) in 2003. The native of Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic, Michalek put up 23 goals and 34 assists with a plus- 11 rating in 77 games last season. In 317 career games in the NHL, Michalek has 91 goals, 123 assists and a plus- 49 rating.

Cheechoo, 29, is a hard-nosed right-winger who is entering his seventh season in the NHL, playing his entire professional career to this point with the Sharks. A second round (29th overall) election by San Jose in 1998, Cheechoo had 12 goals and 17 assists with a minus- 3 rating last season. He reached a career high in 2005-06 when he put up 56 goals and 37 assists in the regular season, adding four goals and five assists in the Sharks' playoff run that season.

The Senators play in San Jose on Dec. 1 but the Sharks won't visit Ottawa until next season unless the two teams meet in the Stanley Cup final in June.