De Vries unnamed player in deal

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

Greg de Vries had been reassured by the Senators last week he was part of the club's plans going forward.

That was probably the kiss of death.

"When I heard there was a trade, I got on the Internet and saw that it was Marian Hossa along with a defenceman ... I was pretty sure by the time that deal was announced it was probably going to be me," de Vries told the Sun last night from Stratford.

"It did take me by surprise because my agent (Pat Morris) had talked to John Muckler last week and we had been told I was part of the club's plans because there had been a lot of rumours about me either getting bought out or traded. I wanted to stay with the Senators. I wanted to be part of that team."

NEEDED CHANGE

But Muckler said the club needed a change.

"We hadn't won with this group of players and we needed to go in a different direction," said Muckler. "We want to go forward and we feel like this was a good move for us."

Scheduled to make $2.2 million US this season, de Vries was the perfect choice to get moved. He only played for the Senators for six weeks and the club needed to clear out salary space. Plus, Muckler wants to make room for young players like top prospect Andrej Meszaros, who is expected to sign a deal later this week.

"I knew that salary was going to be an issue where I was involved," said de Vries. "Things didn't go the way I wanted in Ottawa and that's too bad because I felt like with that team it was going to be a good opportunity.

"But when I saw that Hossa was going to Atlanta, I felt that I would be part of the deal because of my history with coach Bob Hartley. I played for him for five years in Colorado and I had a lot of success. I know what he is going to expect of me and I know what to expect from him. I was looking at Atlanta's roster and they've got a young and exciting team."

PLAYED WITH BOTH

Boston winger Shawn McEachern, a former assistant captain of Ottawa and captain of the Thrashers, said he believes the deal which sent Hossa to Atlanta and brought Dany Heatley to Ottawa is good for both sides.

"This is a trade that is going to help both teams because they're both great players and I don't think either team is going to lose with these two guys," said McEachern.

The deal caught Ottawa players off-guard.

"I was pretty surprised. They felt they had to make their move now and free up some money," said Senators centre Mike Fisher. "It's hard to replace Hossa and it's tough to see him go and he's a huge part of our team. But Dany is a great player and he'll add a lot to our team."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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