The Heat is On

There’s no guarantee that Dany Heatley is going to be an Edmonton Oiler later this month, but there are some interesting and possibly frightening items reaching the Al Gore this morning. Two different articles on the internet speak to the Oilers devotion to acquiring another big ticket and also the level of involvement Daryl Katz has in the wheeling and dealing. The first comes from Jason Gregor and includes the following:

  • I’ve been told that Daryl Katz is prepared to do whatever it takes to try and land Heatley. He has given Steve Tambellini the green light to put together a package that will ensure Bryan Murray doesn’t overlook them.

Jason goes on to say that it sounds like Katz would be willing to hide a salary in the minors. Not Horcoff or Penner, but possibly Robert Nilsson or Ethan Moreau or Steve Staios, although in the case of the latter two that would be extremely unlikely.

Jim Matheson’s article in the EJ is here. In it he explains the possible cost:

  • Murray isn’t saying anything, but he would likely have to retrieve (a) a puck-moving defenceman to help Filip Kuba, Chris Campoli and young Swede Erik Karlsson, (b) a young top-six winger with a scoring touch, and (c) a first-round draft pick, probably in the top 10.

Matty then suggests Tom Gilbert might fill column A, Cogliano or O’Sullivan could solve column B and the Oilers do own the 10th overall pick.

That seems pretty rich to me, but possibly if the Senators supplied Edmonton with another pick (they own the 39th pick, as an example) it could be evened up. I’d hope that Gilbert and Cogliano would be enough and honestly wouldn’t offer more, because despite Heatley’s obvious talents he’s a very expensive player on a club that already has a top-heavy problem ala the NY Rangers (and frankly, the current Ottawa Senators).

If you have that many players making 5+ million, then you need a bunch of very good value contracts at 1M or less in order to compete. The Oilers don’t have that, and they also don’t have a goaltender and they lack a veteran center. Better to stay the course, I’d say. Anything beyond Gilbert and Cogliano (and that is a massive amount of talent leaving town, plus one exceptional value contract and another who will cover the bet) would seem to be overkill.

I do think it’s time to start thinking about Heatley being an Oiler, though. When the owner says “make it so” then the GM has his marching orders. And that issue is for another time, but this is twice now (the other being Laraque at Body by Bennett) the owner has been very vocal (plus the Hossa episode but I’m less clear on what happened there) about player procurement.

Is this a good thing?

Success comes from ownership, goaltending, and I’ve always been thinking that you can have a fire-wagon type of hockey but your ability to play good defence has got to surface. The thread that ran through all of my success was undoubtedly ownership’s commitment to win. I’ve been quite close to some of the owners, and the Bronfmans’ passion for the game as owners in Montreal and the Ilitches’ commitment to create a winning team in Detroit contributed greatly to our success.

-Scotty Bowman

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