The latest news from Ottawa is that All Star winger, Dany Heatley, wants out of the capital city. Heatley scored 50 goals in two consecutive seasons for the Sens, (2005-06 and 2006-07), and has totaled 362 points in the past four seasons. When his mind is right, he can be one of the dominating forces in the game.
But before you start drooling about the possibility of a Staal/Heatley combination, the winger comes with a healthy price tag. He earned 10 million last year and has five years remaining on his contract, (to be paid out 8,8,8,6,5). The cap hit for the Canes would be 7.5 million each year. Couple that with Staal's cap hit of 8.2 million for seven years, and you start to have Tampa Bay type nightmares, highly paid superstars at the top and no money left over for anyone else. If I was Bryan Murray, I wouldn't be holding my breath waiting for a call from Jim Rutherford.
Although playing devil's advocate here, it is possible that a deal could be made. The Hurricanes are always a budget minded team, but if they dropped enough salary this year, they could afford him. Eric Staal's contract is backend loaded and the team drops a lot of salary after 2010. Supposing the Canes traded Kaberle, (2,2), Ruutu, (2.5), and the rights to Babchuk, (1). If Erik Cole wanted too much money, (over 3 million), the Canes could pass on him, take a chance on "Heater", and end up close to where they were in their budget if they had to pay Cole and the others.
Of course there are several unknown intangibles. Would re-signing Cole and Ruutu at higher salaries be better for the team than acquiring Heatley? Would Heatley even be happy in Carolina? Would his ego fit in the Hurricanes dressing room? Would he mesh with Eric Staal? The winger has a no trade clause in his contract, so he has the power to approve or nix whatever deal Murray can put together.
Trading for the superstar would solve a problem many fans have been complaining about, adding someone with the skill set to compliment Staal. And putting them together just might create the most powerful duo in the NHL. While I'm not sure I would make the deal myself, it's an interesting thought for a boring summer day.
What do you think?