Contract talks to Heat up

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

TORONTO -- Dany Heatley's future with the Senators could be decided by the weekend.

Heatley, who had a goal and two assists last night in the club's 4-3 overtime win against the Leafs, will see his representatives, agents J.P. Barry and Stacey McAlpine, meet with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray on Thursday.

The 26-year-old forward, who's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, is believed to be seeking a deal in the $7.5 million to $9 million US range, but that won't be finalized until Barry and McAlpine sit down with the club's back-to-back 50-goal scorer tomorrow at his Ottawa home.

If there isn't a deal in place before the season, Heatley would like to put off negotiations until the end of the year.

"It's been our plan to come to Ottawa all along to have discussions," Barry told the Sun last night. "We've just been organizing everybody's schedule the last little while and the next few days are the best to organize a meeting and resume negotiations."

Despite a strong effort from Heatley and two goals from defenceman Christoph Schubert, the Senators were unable to hold onto a 3-1 lead last night. John Pohl scored midway through the second period and Alexei Ponikarovsky tied it halfway into the third to send it to overtime.

Patrick Eaves, however, sealed the deal with a power-play goal in extra time to give the club its fourth straight victory this pre-season.

"We were clicking pretty good. I thought we were moving the puck pretty well and we got some good chances," said Heatley. "It was a good pre-season game. Different situations for different guys and Spezza made a great play at the end."

Eaves, looking to show he belongs on the big line, took a perfect pass from a Jason Spezza and tipped it by Andrew Raycroft.

Making his fourth straight start of the exhibition season, Martin Gerber gave up an ugly goal to Leafs captain Mats Sundin a minute into the contest. He did, however, finish with 35 saves and a victory, but that won't be enough to unseat Ray Emery from the No. 1 spot.

Emery will play tonight against the Flyers if he's ready and will also get the nod on opening night against the Leafs should he be fully recovered.

"Gerber has been strong since the start of training camp and nothing has changed," said Senators coach John Paddock.


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