The Ottawa Citizen has an article this morning about the Dany Heatley trade request, specifically mentioning the Dallas Stars as a possible destination for the talented left winger. This isn't the first time Dallas has been brought up in the Heatley discussions; when it was announced that Marc Crawford was hired as the new Dallas Stars coach, rumors immediately began to circulate that Heatley would want to come to Dallas. Heatley has demanded to be traded, but he will only approve a trade to a very select number of teams. Apparantly the addition of the offensive-minded Crawford has put Dallas on his short list.
While several Eastern Conference teams, in particular the Boston Bruins, were mentioned by agents as a possible landing spot for Heatley, the speculation is that his preferred list includes a group of Western Conference teams, perhaps as many as eight: the San Jose Sharks probably top the list, followed by the Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
According the Citizen, the new coach isn't the only reason he might want to be traded to Dallas:
Dallas offers an attractive lifestyle, as does San Jose, which is why they're usually at the top of most lists. Plus, there's no state tax in Texas, not an insignificant factor when you make an average of $7.5 million a year.
Yes, you read that right. Dany Heatley is set to make an average of $7.5 million per year for the next five seasons, since he is just one year into a 6 year, $45 million contract.
Follow the jump for an in-depth look at why the Dallas Stars should not even consider a trade for Heatley.
While having an elite goal-scoring winger on the Stars would be a big step in the right direction for Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford, his exhorbitant contract is just too much for the Stars to take on. The Stars have been up against the salary cap every year since the lockout (and last year were actually over it), and Tom Hicks has stated several times this offseason that the Stars' budget will be well under the cap for this coming season. Adding a forward who makes nearly as much as Brad Richards would be impossible.
Of course, to make a trade you have to give something back in the process. There's been talk about Nieuwendyk possible seeking trade partners for Mike Ribeiro or Brad Richards, specifically because of their large contracts. A straight up trade of Richards for Heatley works on paper, but is Heatley's production worth giving up a player such as Richards? What about trading Ribeiro, and a young prospect in the process? Is that worth it?
Heatley is a pure goal scorer. He's scored 50 goals twice in his career and last season just missed scoring 40 for the second season in a row. He's a player that Marc Crawford would salivate over unleashing. Last season he scored just 39 goals and finished with 72 points, and that was considered a disappointing year for Heatley.He would immediately be the scoring threat the Stars have not had for a long time, and are just now starting to see emerge in Loui Eriksson. The addition of Heatley to the group of young talented, forwards such as Eriksson, Fabian Brunnstrom and James Neal would make the Stars an extremely formiddable team to deal with offensively.
The only problem is that Heatley and all three players mentioned above are primarily left wingers. And therein lies the problem.
The Stars are desperate for scoring right wingers. The team's system is full of talented, scoring left wingers but is offset by the lack of scoring on the right side. So if the Stars do make a trade for Heatley, then someone is being pushed to the other side. You also have to remember that Jamie Benn is on his way up, and should be playing for the Stars next season. Between Eriksson and Neal alone, their production would equal that of Heatley's, without having to give up a top center and come much, much cheaper.
But that argument is moot without first resolving the Brad Richards debate. The Dallas Stars will not trade for Heatley without giving up Richards in the process. There is no way this team pays two forwards over $15 million per year. But you have to consider just how valuable Richards became to this team last season. His playmaking ability and leadership qualities were sorely missed by the Stars, and many believe his injury was the final blow that sent this team into a late season downward spiral.
On a Marc Crawford team, Brad Richards is a key ingredient for success. His ability to elevate the play of those around him is invaluable, and his playmaking skills will be fully utilized as Crawford rolls out three pure scoring lines. Does Dany Heatley's scoring prowess offset the value Richards has shown he has to the Dallas Stars?
While it would be nice to have his production I would much rather stick with Richards, both for his on ice skill and his off ice intangibles. Heately has demanded to be traded out of both teams he's played for, and both times has put his team into a difficult position. While it seems that he has learned from the mistakes of his past, it's tough to forget the accident he caused that killed teammate Dan Snyder.
At this point in the new era of Stars hockey, is the added spotlight that Heatley would bring worth the 40-50 goals he would score? It's a tough choice, but I'm not willing to pay the price to acquire him.
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