OTTAWA – Senators general manager Bryan Murray says he was “shocked and disappointed” to hear that Dany Heatley wants out of Ottawa but is working on meeting the star winger’s request.
Last week, Heatley told the NHL club that he wanted to be traded, a demand that comes less than two years after Heatley signed a US$45-million, six-year deal with the Senators.
Murray told reporters Tuesday that he spoke to Heatley at the end of the season before he went to Switzerland to play in the world championship but didn’t learn of the trade demands until last Monday.
“I have had some conversations with several teams,” Murray said. “I don’t really have a timetable but I have encouraged anybody that is really interested to try to make the contact before the draft and we will get something done by that time I hope.”
The new contract may make Heatley difficult to trade since he’ll count for $7.5 million against a team’s salary cap.
Heatley had an off-year by his standards, scoring 39 goals and adding 33 assists in 82 games last season. It’s his lowest point total in four seasons with the Senators.
Murray acknowledged that Heatley’s production will be difficult to replace.
“It’s hard to give up 50 goals,” he said. “He didn’t get it last year – a lot of people underachieved – but Dany Heatley is that calibre of goal scorer. To be better than that is going to be difficult, there’s no question.”
Murray said he’s not going to let Heatley go without getting something decent in return.
“Whether we get the ideal trade or not that is one thing but I have to get something good for this organization coming back,” Murray said.
Murray said Sens head coach Corey Clouston was “devastated” by the news, especially because he’s been cited as the reason Heatley wants out.
“That’s not totally true,” said Murray. “It is part of the reason.”
Murray’s comments came at a news conference to introduce the team’s new executive team. Murray has added executive vice-president duties to his GM’s role while the team promoted chief operating officer Cyril Leeder to president. He replaces president Roy Mlakar, who will step down when his contract expires at the end of the month.