After seeing their trade for Dany Heatley spiral down the toilet on Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers played the waiting game throughout Wednesday to see if he would waive his no-trade clause. The clock struck midnight on the East Coast -- no deal for the Ottawa Senators and the Oilers.
As ESPN's Pierre LeBrun writes, the Senators are now forced to pay Heatley the $4 million bonus he's due next season; and that might change the dynamics of Heatley's trade demand:
"No decision tonight," a source in Heatley's camp told ESPN.com at 12:06 a.m. ET.
So what now? Senators GM Bryan Murray had said all along he wasn't interested in moving Heatley after having paid him the $4-million bonus that kicked in at midnight ET Wednesday night. Heatley met with Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe and GM Steve Tambellini in his off-season home of Kelowna, B.C., earlier Wednesday night but the sales pitch didn't produce the immediate result.
TSN's Bob McKenzie has a terrific column on the Heatley situation this morning, including this prognostication:
Sources close to the Senators say the decision on how to proceed now will ultimately fall to team owner Eugene Melnyk, who won't be happy having had to invest $4 million in a player who doesn't want to play on his team. Or that Heatley demanded a trade and then when he was offered one, he turned it down.
There are some practical ways to offset the $4 million. For example, if the Oilers were inclined to do it, the Senators could send additional players to Edmonton whose salaries come close to equaling $4 million. Jason Smith and Christoph Schubert, for example, are scheduled to make almost $3.5 million between them this season. If the Senators were inclined to include them and the Oilers were amenable to taking them, there are ways around the thorny financial issue.
If the Oilers are amenable, of course. The question's been asked all night, so might as well ask it again: Why would Edmonton care to force the issue for a player kicking and screaming about wanting to play somewhere else? Yet clearly they're still interested.
Darren Dreger of TSN reported that Heatley thought the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks were vying for him before the Senators selected the Oilers. Was Heatley delusional, or was there actual interest from the Sharks? We think Heatley, the Senators and the Sharks are a rather perfect fit. Can it happen? Or is it between Edmonton or a very awkward future in Ottawa?