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Swimming with the Sharks

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Oilers vain attempts to woo disgruntled Senators winger Dany Heatley into waiving his no-movement clause are over.

Oilers GM Steve Tambellini announced Friday his club had decided to move on after spending a month trying to convince Heatley to accept a trade to Edmonton.

You certainly can’t blame Tambellini and his staff for lack of effort. After having a deal in place with the Senators – which supposedly would’ve shipped forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano along with defenseman Ladislav Smid to Ottawa – only to be twice spurned by Heatley, the club tried everything, including sending him team videos and even reportedly having some of their players call Heatley to sing Edmonton’s praises.

Ultimately, however, their efforts wound up earning them scorn not only from fans, but also from some in the media, who considered it akin to begging.

With the Oilers now out of the mix, attention turns to the San Jose Sharks, the only team on Heatley’s wish list rumored to have any interest in him.

The Ottawa Sun reported Senators GM Bryan Murray rejected an offer of winger Jonathan Cheechoo, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and a draft pick from Sharks GM Doug Wilson. The paper also looked at why Heatley’s expensive salary ($7.5 million per season) would also make him a tough sell.

It’s altogether possible Wilson is interested in Heatley – he did, after all, promise fans a roster shakeup after last spring’s disappointing post-season performance – but he’s not going to gut his roster merely to bring in a high-paid winger for Joe Thornton’s line.

There isn’t a lot Wilson could offer for Heatley that would free up sufficient cap space without adversely affecting his roster. He’s not moving Thornton or Dan Boyle and it’s a safe bet Devon Setoguchi, Marc-Edouard Vlasic or Evgeni Nabokov won’t be shopped.

If Cheechoo and Ehrhoff aren’t acceptable for Murray, as rumors suggest, then it doesn’t appear there’s a deal to be had between the two sides involving Heatley, unless a third team were to be brought into the mix – possibly the Montreal Canadiens.

• Phil Kessel’s agent told there’s been no progress to report in talks between he and the Bruins.

It’s looking increasingly like this situation could drag on into training camp and possibly the pre-season before it is resolved. It could even stretch into the start of the regular season as the Bruins without Kessel on their payroll remain under the salary cap.

The choice is a simple one for GM Peter Chiarelli: re-sign Kessel and either dump at least $4 million in salary to free up the cap space to absorb his new contract or ship him to another club for an affordable return.

Internet speculation has Kessel linked to the Sharks, but GM Wilson declined comment in a Mercury News report, other than to suggest anything was possible, but nothing was imminent, which won’t do much to quiet the rumormongers.

• The Philadelphia Flyers recent signing of free agent defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen could come at the expense of another Flyers blueliner.

Reports out of Philadelphia suggest Tollefsen’s signing could mean defenseman Randy Jones might be on his way out.

Jones has one year remaining on his current contract with the Flyers at a cap hit of $2.75 million, but with the Flyers already bumping up against the $56.8 million ceiling for next season they need all the wiggle room they can get.

By moving Jones via trade, waivers or demotion to the minors and replacing him on the roster with Tollefsen the Flyers would free up roughly $2 million.

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Rumor Roundup appears Mondays only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for and Eishockey Magazine.



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