The ever-so-thoughtful Dany Heatley sent the citizens of the capital a gracious gift on Canada's 142nd birthday.
By putting the kibosh on Bryan Murray's attempt at trading him to the Oilers before the Senators had to pay him $4 million (all terms US), Heatley did Ottawa a big favour. Had the deal been completed prior to Wednesday's midnight deadline, all Murray would have fetched for the two-time 50 goal scorer was Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid.
Now, he'll get more, or Heatley won't be going anywhere.
If the Oilers are still interested, they'll surely have to take Jason Smith and his $2.6-million contract, as well. Maybe even Alexandre Picard ($800,000) and Christoph Schubert ($880,000), too.
All three are players the Senators have been trying to unload, and rid of their combined salaries, Murray would have $4.2 million to spend on the forward he wanted to add -- along with Cogliano, Penner and Smid -- on Wednesday.
Given what transpired on the first day of Free-Agent Frenzy, that could have been a Nik Antropov or a Steve Sullivan, or, with another mil thrown in, a Martin Havlat or Brian Gionta.
Had the cards been played differently, the Senators could have even been a significant player for Mike Cammalleri.
Still on the market are guys like Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Robert Lang, Mikael Samuelsson, Ruslan Fedotenko, Maxim Afinogenov, Mike Comrie, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison.
But if the Senators do find themselves with an extra $4 million and the ability to top that up a bit sometime soon, there's one player they should look hard at signing.
They're going to need some serious offence to replace that lost with Heatley, and the big Swede has the ability to provide it. He realized how tough it was to jump into the schedule halfway through last season -- Sundin had nine goals and 19 assists in 41 regular-season games with Vancouver -- before rediscovering his old form and becoming a point-per-game guy in the latter part and the playoffs. Presumably, if he's going to play in 2009-10, he'll want to avoid the frustration of essentially going through training camp in January and February this time.
Get to play with Alfie
The 38-year-old Sundin made $5.6 million in three months with the Canucks, but maybe he'll take $6 million for a chance to finish his career on a high note. With his buddy Daniel Alfredsson, and maybe P.J. Axelsson, if the Senators want to do a little more shopping.
Now, other teams could still get back in the mix for Heatley, but if nobody else was offering enough before, it's difficult to imagine Murray's demand being met now.
Except by the shunned Oilers, who are as desperate as ever for a big-name star.
What exactly is it that Heatley didn't like about the Edmonton situation, anyway?
The city? It's just a two-hour drive down Hwy. 2 from where he grew up in Calgary. Who doesn't like to go home?
The team? The Oilers aren't so bad. Look at their roster. Are they worse than the Rangers, where Heatley wanted to go? No. But it is a lot easier to hide in Manhattan.
That might have had something to do with it.
As far as the Senators are concerned, the best solution to the saga would see Heatley withdraw his demand and plead for his spot back on the team. He may be a one-trick pony, but nobody is a purer goal scorer.
Alas, that's not going to happen. Heatley's stubborn streak is obviously as strong as his one-timer.
But if the Senators could come out of this with a return of Sundin, Cogliano, Penner, Smid and a high draft pick or two (c'mon, the Oilers are getting additional players that weren't part of the original package), Heatley's "uh-uh" will indeed be remembered as a sweet Canada Day gift to Ottawa.