Dany Heatley's smile said it all.
The talented young forward snagged by the Ottawa Senators in a blockbuster trade with the Atlanta Thrashers couldn't hide his excitement yesterday.
"I'm just thrilled to be here in Ottawa and I'm really excited," said Heatley at the Corel Centre. "This could not have worked out better. I'm getting a chance to come to a team that is going to be a Stanley Cup contender. It's going to be great to get a chance to be on a winning team."
Heatley, acquired from the Thrashers for winger Marian Hossa and defenceman Greg de Vries late Tuesday, was having a hard time not flashing that smile as he signed autographs for fans. After signing a three-year, $13.5-million US deal with the Senators, Heatley declared he was happy to be back in a city that cares about hockey.
Senators GM John Muckler credited some of that enthusiasm to his new player.
"I don't know if I've seen this kind of excitement in any hockey community since (Wayne) Gretzky went to Los Angeles ... especially in this size of a city," said Muckler.
Heatley shouldn't have any problem fitting in with his new team. He knows centre Mike Fisher and played with defencemen Chris Phillips and Wade Redden at the world championships last spring.
In fact, Heatley turned down the club's offer of a hotel room and stayed at the Phillips household last night.
Heatley acknowledged expectations will be high -- Ottawa gave up a young scoring phenom in Hossa -- but is ready to accept the pressure that will certainly be placed on his shoulders.
"I look at Ottawa and there's just so much talent on the team," said Heatley. "Yes, I know there's going to be pressure but I've always had pressure and I feel I can handle the pressure. I'm not worried about it one bit. I'm just looking forward to playing here."
Heatley put No. 51 on his back yesterday but his traditional No. 15 is still in his sights.
"That's just because I haven't had a chance to negotiate with (Peter Schaefer) yet. I haven't completely given up on that number but No. 51 feels just fine," said Heatley, flashing his gap-toothed smile.