HALIFAX — After the summer he had with Dany Heatley, Senators GM Bryan Murray thinks no-movement clauses should come with a caveat.
While Murray has no problem with the clauses, he feels that once the player makes a trade demand — like disgruntled Dany did — they should rescind the right to pick and choose their destination.
While Murray was satisfied with the deal he made on Saturday to send Heatley to the Sharks for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo, the GM had a trade worked out with the Oilers on July 1, but the deal was scuttled when Heatley wouldn’t accept it.
“In this era where there are no-trade and no-move clauses, when you make that demand of an organization, then you should open yourself up to remove the clause from your contract and give the manager the opportunity to talk to all other teams,” Murray told Sun Media.
“It has to be (looked at). Talking to a lot of people, they all agree. When you negotiate a contract in good faith, you make a lot of money with a no-move clause, you shouldn’t have any qualms because you signed the deal. The league and the union have to consider this as a criteria that if you ask for a trade, it’s absolutely removed.”
When Heatley demanded the trade from the Senators, Murray told his agents to give him a list of teams — which was eight — to where he’d accept a deal.
Murray said being unable to speak with every team in the league hamstrung his ability to make a deal and probably cost the club the $4-million US bonus that owner Eugene Melnyk had to shell out when the Senators weren’t able to close the deal with the Oilers.
“I told Dany when we had our meeting that he indicated to me that there were options available to me. There were no options available to me,” said Murray. “Six of the eight teams they gave me on the list had no cap space to do anything. San Jose had to create space by dealing Christian Ehrhoff (and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver).
“Where there’s a cap involved, it’s difficult to move high-end players. That’s why when I called and asked about including the two Alberta teams, they said, ‘Go ahead and talk to them.’ Then, they act surprised when I was able to do a deal with Edmonton.”
Had Heatley accepted the trade to the Oilers for Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid, the Senators could have saved themselves a lot of grief and Melnyk some cash.
Murray isn’t complaining, he’s happy to have Michalek and Cheechoo — and be rid of Heatley.
“I didn’t want our players to have to answer questions and try to keep a player happy that didn’t want to be here,” said Murray. “I really felt that over the course of a couple of months it would probably contaminate the (dressing) room.
“I’m glad it’s over. We could have played it a little longer, but when I went through everybody’s numbers, unless I took back an unreasonable contract, I didn’t feel I was going to benefit a great deal by waiting.”
Murray isn’t surprised everybody is still searching for reasons why Heatley wanted out.
“It’s totally hockey. It’s over now and Dany has moved on,” said Murray. “The main reason is: He wanted to be the important player on the team. He felt that he would have a hard time having that happen (here) and he questioned the overall ability of the team.
“He wanted to get more ice time. If there were other issues, business or whatever, I don’t think (there were any). Every conversation I had with Dany, it was the same. Every conversation was the same: There were no side issues. It was hockey related and hockey related only.”