Ottawa Senators News : Heatley Traded for Milan Michalek and Jonathon Cheechoo
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Heatley Traded for Milan Michalek and Jonathon Cheechoo > > > < < <


On Saturday the San Jose Sharks have acquired left wing Dany Heatley from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for right wing Jonathan Cheechoo and left wing Milan Michalek.

Cheechoo was selected in the second round (29th overall) of the 1998 draft by the Sharks and is ranked fifth on the Sharks for all-time points with 291 (165 goals, 126 assists), third in goals and 10th in games played (440). Cheechoo also notched 304 penalty minutes and scored 62 power play goals.

Cheechoo has scored the fourth-most goals of any player who has entered the NHL since his rookie season in 2002-03 and won the 2006 Maurice Rocket Richard Award as the NHL's top goal scorer, setting a Sharks franchise record with 56 goals.

Milan Michalek was a first-round selection by the San Jose Sharks (6th overall) in the 2003 draft and in 2008 posted 57 points (23 goals, 34 assists) in 77 games. In 317 career NHL games, all with San Jose, Michalek has posted 214 points (91 goals, 123 assists) (ninth on the Sharks all-time list) and 184 penalty minutes.

Looking under the covers

There has been much analysis of who won the trade - including the old stalwart rule of thumb that the team who obtained the best player won the trade - but when scratching under the surface there are several arguments that can be made in favour of the Senators doing not so badly at this trade:

  • Only one puck: During much of the game there are 10 skaters on the ice - 9 of which do NOT have the puck and are fighting/waiting for it. There is more to the game than purely scoring goals (albeit that is a big part of the game).

  • Sharks have made big moves before: a trade with Boston by acquiring Joe Thornton - before the trade Boston was barely a playoff team, 4 years after the trade Bruins were a legitimate Cup contender. The Sharks on the other hand went further in the playoffs the year before that trade (e.g. when they had Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart) then they have since acquiring supposed playoff superstar Thornton.

  • Impact of injury: Having 2 players means that if one player goes down to injury you still have the other. On the other hand, you have doubled the likelihood of somebody going down.

  • more depth: Rather than having the offence concentrated on one line, Ottawa could have two or three lines that can score.

  • Character: Heatley's history points to a selfish, demanding player - Michalek and certainly Cheechoo are an improvement in that category. When the going got tough for the Sens against Anaheim in the Finals Heatley completely disappeared. Some say that Heatley brought them to the Finals, but looking deeper you will notice players like Alfredsson, Volchenkov, Fisher, and Emery that actually contributed more to their team than Heatley's pure goal scoring ever did.

Line Combinations

Given the range and amount of firepower that the Sens have, Clouston has some interesting line combinations he can use. Consider the following likely possibilities:

  • 1st: Spezza, Mikalek, Alfredsson. 2nd: Fisher, Foligno, Kovalev.

  • 1st: Spezza, Mikalek, Kovalev. 2nd: Fisher, Foligno, Alfredsson.

  • 1st: Spezza, Foligno, Alfredsson. 2nd: Fisher, Michalek, Cheechoo.

  • 1st: Spezza, Michalek, Alfredsson. 2nd: Fisher, Ruutu, Cheechoo.

  • 1st: Spezza, Michalek, Cheechoo. 2nd: Fisher, Ruutu, Alfredsson.

  • 1st: Spezza, Michalek, Cheechoo. 2nd: Fisher, Foligno, Alfredsson.

Given what we've seen of Clouston - what can we count on? The players working hard will be rewarded, so a good guess is:

  • 1st: Spezza, Foligno, Alfredsson. 2nd: Fisher, Michalek, Cheechoo.

But what may work the best may be:

  • 1st: Spezza, Mikalek, Kovalev. 2nd: Fisher, Foligno, Alfredsson.

One thing is obvious - with McAmmond and Heatley gone now, Sens now need more depth on Left Wing. Do not rule out the possibility of trading one of our depth Centres (Kelly, Shannon, Winchester, Bass, Smith) for a Left Winger OR a Right Winger changing wings - Kovalev?

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