MONTREAL -- While Bryan Murray is ready to deal Dany Heatley, he's not going to accept a bargain-basement return for the former 50-goal scorer. In fact, he's established a steep price.
League sources told Sun Media yesterday that Murray is seeking two players and a draft pick (possibly a first-rounder) for Heatley. That has some potential partners wondering if they should make a trade now -- with a whopping $4-million signing bonus due to Heatley on July 1.
Murray, who arrived here Tuesday, doesn't believe trade discussions will heat up until today -- with the NHL draft tomorrow at the Bell Centre.
While the Senators GM confirmed he's got a "couple of teams" serious about Heatley and another group kicking tires, Murray is hopeful he'll get a serious offer in the next 24 hours.
"There has been some interest. There've been more than a couple of teams (that are looking), but at the end of the day I'm not sure right now what anybody wants to give. They are throwing different names out, but they are not where we want to be," said Murray.
League sources say the Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, L.A. Kings and Dallas Stars are the frontrunners. The St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers are also on a list of teams interested.
But Murray likely won't get equal value back for Heatley, the two-time 50-goal scorer who demanded a trade earlier this month.
A league executive said if Murray is going to deal with Minnesota or Edmonton, it's going to be difficult to get the right players in return. For example, Murray can't just deal Heatley to the Wild for winger Cal Clutterbuck. It just doesn't make sense.
"This is a good player. This is a big scorer. He's going to be a consistent 50-goal scorer and we all know that," said Murray. "I know I can't get that in return and I understand that. I have to get some pieces that really help our hockey team if I possibly can.
"I want to see who is going to make an offer that makes me want to do something."
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had "no comment" about Heatley following yesterday's board of governors meeting. He wouldn't confirm he's had any discussions with Murray, but the belief is winger Marian Gaborik has already informed the club he is going to test the free-agent market.
The indications are Fletcher, who was hired last month to replace Doug Risebrough, would like to make a splash, especially if Gaborik does decide to leave.
Murray said he is hopeful the draft will act as a catalyst for a deal.
"There could be the pressure of getting it done before making a pick.
"That's what we all thrive under. That's a strong possibility," said Murray.