Count Chris Kelly among those who don’t want Dany Heatley’s future hanging over the Senators going into training camp.
While league sources say Senators GM Bryan Murray has made little or no progress on the Heatley trade front since the winger refused to accept a deal to send him to the Oilers last month, the players would like to see the situation settled before they report for medicals Sept. 12.
Kelly, taking a break from his summer yesterday to help out kids attending the club’s hockey camp this week at the Bell Sensplex, said he hopes that Heatley either gets his wish for a trade or kisses and makes up with coach Cory Clouston.
“We just want to see it resolved, either way,” said Kelly. “If Dany decides he’s coming back, then we’ll welcome Dany back. If they make a deal for him to go somewhere else, I’m sure (Murray) will try to get the best possible deal for him. I wish him all the luck if he goes somewhere else.”
Sources say the Sharks are still in the mix to land Heatley, but have yet to make a serious offer.
The indications are if Heatley isn’t dealt he will report to camp. He has six years and nearly $40 million US left on his contract. Not only would he not get paid if he didn’t report, he’d also be suspended for breach of contract.
“If things weren’t cleared up it may be (a distraction),” said Kelly. “If things were cleared up, meaning he’s coming back, I think it’s something we can put past us and move forward.
“It kind of came out of left field. If Dany was a bad person, a bad teammate or a bad guy, then I think it would be a lot easier (to accept). But Dany is a great teammate, a great guy and I think that’s what makes this so difficult. (Nobody is sure) where it’s coming from.”
Kelly said with the organization missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 years and only two years removed from going to the Stanley Cup final against the Ducks, the summer has been long. He has been working out with the likes of Chris Neil and Jason Spezza.
Kelly was buoyed by the signing of winger Alexei Kovalev from the Canadiens.
“It’s exciting when you can pick up a player like that. When I heard he signed with us, I was kind of taken aback. Picking up a guy like that with that kind of talent, will definitely help our club. He was always dominant against us with Montreal last year,” said Kelly.
“If you’re looking for a top-six (forward), on most teams he’s a top three. With our top three (Heatley, Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson), that relieves the pressure off (Kovalev) and them. He doesn’t need to be the guy each and every night. He has some help with them and they have some help with him.”