Plan B Grows A Set

For some fans, this Dany Heatley saga has turned into a bad movie with no climax. That could change as the Edmonton Oilers are prepared to move from their stance that they will stay in on the Heatley deal until the bitter end. And can you blame them? (Perhaps a more appropriate question is, what the fuck took them so long to get to this point?)

Since the original Smid/Cogliano/Penner for Heatley deal was leaked, the Oilers have been portrayed as Heatley’s Plan B. A last resort destination that Dany will consider once all avenues have been exhausted.

The door still isn’t closed on a deal to send disgruntled Senators winger Dany Heatley to the Oilers — but it could be slammed shut soon.

Sources indicated yesterday that while Heatley refused to waive his no-movement clause on June 30 and agree to a deal that would have sent him to the Oilers, he has not “officially” rejected Edmonton as a destination.

But an NHL source indicated yesterday the Oilers’ patience is wearing thin to have Heatley agree to a deal and they could give up and move on perhaps as early as today. ~ Chris Stevenson, The Ottawa Sun

I know some of you guys are going to beat the drum, “I told you so! Heatley’s coming back here.” But personally, I think it’s just posturing on the part of the Oilers to expedite the process and use their leverage to force Dany’s hand. I’m hoping that Stevenson’s sources are inaccurate because what exactly could the Oilers be moving on to? The status quo? Todd Bertuzzi? Jaromir Jagr?

The market is barren and the only available talent that could be acquired via trade includes overpaid, underachievers like Danny Briere.

If the Oilers bow out now, they could be blowing their only opportunity to land the best available player on the market. There’s still a plethora of time before training camp. If Heatley’s camp thinks that a deal can still be had elsewhere, they’re going to drag out the process before ultimately deciding if playing in Edmonton is better than returning to Ottawa.

More importantly, if Dany formally invokes his NTC, it could also completely fuck the Senators over. Without that Plan B on table, there’s less impetus for a rival GM to offer the Sens a favorable deal.

That being said, I can’t envision Heatley back in Ottawa when camp starts. The damage has been done. He’s discredited Cory Clouston and has put himself before his teammates and his team’s results. And nothing that Heatley has done this summer gives any inclination that he’s going to make the steps necessary to amend the situation. His silence speaks volumes. For an organization that’s lacked coaching stability for the past few seasons, they need to put the foot down.

I know some fans, including myself, weren’t that enthused by the original Edmonton package. Bryan Murray himself admitted that he “took a deal that probably hockey-wise doesn’t match for Dany Heatley, but I thought it was fair to allow the player to have an opportunity to move if that’s what he wanted to do,”.

However, if the Edmonton deal ever comes to fruition, maybe the following Murray quote can be the silver lining,“…we’d stock our team with a couple of players that we feel we can upgrade over the course of a year here.