Dany Heatley refused to make a decision on whether he’d accept a trade to the Oilers, so they did it for him.
Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini said on a conference call yesterday that the Oilers informed the Senators earlier this week they are no longer interested in acquiring the disgruntled winger.
“It’s time for us to move on and we’re very comfortable with that,” Tambellini said.
Hey, Dany, Senators camp opens Sept. 12.
The Senators and Oilers reached a deal on July 1 that would have sent Heatley to Edmonton for forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano and defenceman Ladislav Smid, but Heatley never approved the trade.
And all the visits, videos and begging by the Oilers couldn’t change his mind.
Heatley’s agents, J.P. Barry and Stacey McAlpine, couldn’t be reached for comment last night following Tambellini’s announcement.
With a cap hit of $7.5 million (all terms US) a season over the next five years, moving Heatley won’t be easy for Senators GM Bryan Murray.
The Senators still have six weeks to deal Heatley before players report for physicals next month and sources say the Sharks remain interested.
San Jose might be the only option after every other team that showed an interest in Heatley went in a different direction.
Sources say neither side wants Heatley to come to Senators camp and that Murray is trying to find a way to make a deal to avoid a media circus in training camp.
“My belief is the Sharks are the only team left,” a league executive said last night. “Heatley had better hope they can find a way to make a deal there, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”
Sharks GM Doug Wilson would have to dump salary to fit Heatley in under the $56.8-million salary cap.
Sources say the Senators have rejected the Sharks’ offer of winger Jonathan Cheechoo, defenceman Christian Erhoff and a first-round draft pick. Indications are San Jose captain Patrick Marleau’s name has never come up in talks.
Unlike the Oilers, the Sharks were on the list of teams that Heatley said he would accept a trade to.
“Heatley isn’t going to be upset the Oilers dropped out of the running because he didn’t want to go there in the first place,” said the executive. “I’m sure he wants to go to the Sharks, but I’m not sure the Senators want to send this guy anywhere he wants to go.”
Another league executive said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Heatley wearing the No. 15 with the Senators next season.
“I think he plays for Ottawa. That’s what happens,” the executive said. “They’ve been trying to make amends. I’ve seen hints from the owner (Eugene Melnyk) and (Murray) that they’d welcome him back — unless another team comes out of the woodwork. That doesn’t seem likely.”
Meanwhile, it’s not a surprise the Oilers have given up.
President Kevin Lowe and Tambellini visited Heatley at his Kelowna, B.C., home on July 1. Last week, the Oilers sent him videos showing what a good fit he’d be in Edmonton.
None of it could entice him.
Now, the Oilers are gone and Heatley might have to do what looked unthinkable when he made his trade demand: Come back to Ottawa and play for coach Cory Clouston.
Heatley is probably hoping he gets thrown to the Sharks.