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The True Downside Of The Heatley Deal

David Staples posted something in response to one of Tyler's posts that gave me pause.

I can’t see how anyone thinks he’s not a helluva player. He is.

He's referencing Dany Heatley with that statement. It's an obvious statement and there aren't many people out there arguing the point. Most fans are attempting to justify being against this deal and may be taking it a step to far.

It's not about his talent. Everyone knows he has talent and is a goal-scorer. By the way, can we ban "sniper" from the hockey lexicon? Like the "power forward", "the sniper" is another mythical beast and overused term that rarely fits the discussion at hand. Nevertheless, he has an absolutely cap-killing contract, a contract that should the Oilers choose to acquire, will put the team in a familiar trading position. The Oilers brass will have to move Souray or Visnovsky to make cap space. They'll be trading from a position of weakness, again, and will take less on the dollar than they should, again. They'll be forced to replace the departed defenseman with something less than stellar players, again, and considering the players being sent out, they'll be starting the season with just a handful of legitimate NHL players, again. The roster will be unbalanced, again, and the team will be scrambling for experience, again.

Secondly, let's be honest about this: Dany Heatley is a jerk. He's a spolied kid that wants things his way or he's taking his ball and going home. A source has indicated that just a week prior to the accident that took the life of teammate Dan Snyder, Don Waddell had a sitdown with Heatley. Waddell was tipped off, by multiple sources, to Heatley's penchant for speeding around town. He told Dany that if he needed to drive like that, he should go to Speed Atlanta and use the race course to burn off any need to go that fast. Heatley chose to ignore Waddell and Synder is dead today. In the wake of the accident, the Thrashers stood behind Heatley and helped him through the aftermath. In response, Heatley asked for his outright release, rather than a trade, so that he would have been free to sign with the team of his choosing.

Heatley spat in the face of the franchise that drafted him, developed him and stood behind him following the accident and expected them to get absolutely nothing in return via a trade.

Sources say that when Waddell finally did manage to find a suitable deal, Heatley released a statement to the public that thanked the fans in Atlanta for their support in the wake of Snyder's death. What the public didn't know is that the entire thing was written by the Thrashers and Heatley had nothing to do with it outside of letting the Thrashers release the statement to the public. The first thing Heatley did when he arrived in Ottawa was to slam Atlanta and their fans for not caring about hockey.

Heatley spat in the face of the fanbase that supported him throughout his ordeal.

As punishment for the accident, it was agreed by the authorities, Snyder's family and Heatley's camp that he would put in hours of community service by giving 150 public speeches over three years on the dangers of speeding. After the trade, Heatley's representatives worked out a deal so that Heatley could serve his punishment in Ottawa, and give his speeches there, rather than serve his punishment in Atlanta. None of his community service hours were ever spent in Atlanta. The community that he harmed, the community that supported him so strongly never saw his promise of service fulfilled.

His time in Ottawa turned him into one of the game's biggest stars. Ottawa gave him an enormous contract in return. When the new coach asked him to do more than he had in the past, Heatley threw a fit and wanted out. He demanded a trade, yet handcuffed the franchise by holding general manager Bryan Murray to his no-trade clause.

A couple of years in Ottawa and a fat contract and he again spat in the face of the franchise.

Dany Heatley acts like a petulant child, one that burns bridges because he knows some sucker will be there to scoop him up because he can score 40 goals a season. Yes, it would be nice for the Oilers to get a 40 goal scorer, but bringing this particular 40 goal scorer means bringing some weighty baggage to the franchise. Sometimes hockey is about more than just hockey. In this case, Heatley's hockey skills can't diminish his past.


NOTE:  This story was corrected to show that Heatley did, in fact, give the speeches required, but gave them in Ottawa, not Atlanta, where he was sentenced.