Dany Heatley might want to start thinking about a plane reservation to Ottawa for the start of Senators training camp in September.
Unless the Oilers are willing to up the ante -- possibly taking another contract off the hands of Senators GM Bryan Murray -- and Heatley is willing to accept a move to Edmonton, the unhappy winger will likely be back.
If Heatley wants to get paid next season, he'll have to work out his differences with coach Cory Clouston and report to training camp to begin earning the rest of the $37.5 million (all terms US) left on his contract.
"The door is not slammed closed (to Heatley returning)," said Murray. "The option Dany has right now is Ottawa."
While the Senators were willing to give in to Heatley's demand for a trade by sending him to the Oilers in a deal for centre Andrew Cogliano, winger Dustin Penner and defenceman Ladislav Smid, the landscape changed once owner Eugene Melnyk wrote him a $4-million bonus cheque yesterday.
"It's different now. I don't know whether we will continue or not," said Murray. "I will talk (to Edmonton GM) Steve Tambellini again. Very definitely, it's not the same deal as it was (Wednesday)."
So, where does this leave Heatley? "Nowhere, he's an Ottawa Senator," said Murray.
Murray told reporters he had three conversations with Heatley's agents J.P. Barry and Stacey McAlpine last weekend to confirm the two-time 50-goal scorer would go to the Oilers, who were not on the original 8-10-team list of Heatley's preferred destinations.
When asked to waive his no-trade clause Tuesday, Heatley's agents told the Senators they didn't have enough time to make a decision. Oilers' president Kevin Lowe and Tambellini flew to Heatley's summer home in Kelowna Wednesday to meet with him and that didn't work, either.
"They told me the circumstances had changed and they implied that I didn't have permission to talk to Edmonton," said Murray. "Three times on the weekend I suggested that I was talking to Edmonton and they were very interested and could it continue? I was told, 'Yes, it could.' The decision was made not to make a decision and I'm not sure why."
Murray said there weren't many options. League sources told Sun Media the San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild showed interest, but the Oilers were the most aggressive.
"I read some articles that implied I didn't work hard enough to make more options available to them," said Murray. "If you call around to the other GMs, there were many calls made and many options thrown out there. There weren't a lot of teams interested in making an offer.
"The few that did were in a couple of cases not very good and in one case insulting for Dany Heatley. I took a deal that hockey-wise, probably doesn't match Dany Heatley, but I was prepared to allow the player to have an opportunity to move if that is what he wanted to do."
Centre Jason Spezza said he's spoken by phone to his close friend Heatley and has urged his linemate to make a decision.
"If Dany wants to come back, we're going to accept him and we want him to be a part of our team," said Spezza. "If he doesn't want to be here, it's important for him to move on and for the organization to be able to make a trade so the team can move on. We just want to win here."