According to various sources, Ottawa Senators' superstar Dany Heatley has asked the team to trade him to another team. Heatley approached Ottawa General Manager Bryan Murray with the request yesterday.
To some the news came as a surprise. Just last year Heatley signed a long-term lucrative contract with the Senators, locking the all-star up for six years for around $45 million.
There has been some debate as to whether or not Heatley has given the organization a list of teams he will accept or not accept a trade to. While some are speculating that he has, his agent noted that "I think [Heatley's] pretty open. I don't think geography is really an issue here. I think he just wants an opportunity to play with a team where he's got a more significant role. I think ultimately that's first and foremost on his wish list."
TSN reported that Heatley has been unhappy with his playing time and with the direction that the Senators' coach, Cory Clouston is taking the team. Clouston was hired in the middle of last season and improved the team's record dramatically. However, he relegated Heatley to the second power play unit. After some time to think about the season and his feelings, Heatley decided to approach the Senators and ask to be shipped out.
Speculation is now running rampant as to where Heatley may find himself if he is traded. A popular rumour site, Hockey Buzz, suggests that he may be moved to Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, LA, or St. Louis. Other rumours have him going to Anaheim for Corey Perry, a player drafted by Murray when he was general manager there. There is little doubt that he could bring the Senators a lot in return.
Given Heatley's contract, however, the Senators are under no obligation to trade him. In response to the news, Murray told said "We signed [Heatley] to a long-term deal and we expect him to honour it." He added that "At this point in time he's a Senator."
Ottawa fans are all to familiar with their stars demanding trades. In 1998 Alexei Yashin demanded a trade from the Senators in retaliation for not receiving a new, more lucrative contract. The Senators refused to oblige and suspended him for a year. He then returned to the Senators for a year before they traded him to the New York Islanders.
One thing is sure. Rumours and speculation will be intense in the coming weeks and months. While many expected it to be another one of the Sens stars, Jason Spezza, to be traded, it now appears more likely that it will be Heatley.