Can Dany Heatley Go To San Jose?

And we thought we had cap issues here in Edmonton.

San Jose, more so than any other team, is in serious trouble to start this upcoming season. While other teams like Calgary, Chicago or Ottawa are near or over the cap and require moving players to clear space, San Jose finds themselves in the unenviable position of being short a full roster; with no cap space to add a single player.

According to capgeek.com, the Sharks have seven defensemen ready to play in 2009/2010. So far, so good. But that's where the good news stops. San Jose has only ten signed forwards and one goalie under contract and ready to start the year. Just to have four lines with three players per line, means San Jose needs twelve forwards not ten. Not to mention that every team dresses and extra 13th forward. Oh yeah... and they'll require a back-up goalie.

Even worse, San Jose has a whopping $217,503 ($899,000 according to nhlnumbers.com) in cap space left to fill those four holes. That's less than the league minimum of one NHL player in one case and the minimum of two NHL players in another. The math doesn't quite compute.

Then how in the heck can Dany Heatley be the discussion of trade rumours to San Jose? After all, from most accounts, if Heatley doesn't come to Edmonton and doesn't stay in Ottawa, he's going to San Jose... or so many seem to think.

No matter how you slice a trade involving Dany Heatley between San Jose and Ottawa, every option we can find puts one of these teams over the cap and San Jose still doesn't have enough depth to dress a full roster going into this season. In fact, there is not a single forward on the Sharks roster who makes more than Heatley, which means practically any additional salary San Jose takes on (which can only be $899,000 in the best case being nhlnumbers.com) puts the Sharks over the cap.

The only option, is a massive salary dump on the part of San Jose. We already know how close to impossible that seems to be in todays NHL and for the Sharks, it leaves them with an even smaller professional roster than they currently have.

Let's look at a few examples to prove our theory.

If a one for one trade, (say Patrick Marleau for Dany Heatley) San Jose still only has 10 forwards, but are over the cap. Oh yeah... and they'd still need a back-up goalie.

If a forward and a defenseman combo, (say Marleau and Christian Ehrhoff for Heatley) that relieves San Jose of $1.9 million in cap space, but still leaves them with 10 forwards. They would have to sign three players at the absolute league minimum to fill the roster... oh but wait, it would put Ottawa over the cap by $1.7 million or so, which means it's slim at best to make that happen since Ottawa would then need to dump salary. San Jose still needs a back-up goalie.

What about 2 defensmen plus a draft pick for Heatley (say Ehrhoff and Huskins)? Nope sorry, San Jose is over again and Ottawa doesn't get the forward it wants. Oh yeah... and San Jose needs a back-up goalie.

Let's get crazy and say the Shark's trade Nabokov for draft picks and bring in forwards from the minors to play full time in the NHL. They effectively clear about $4.5 million give or take less the new forwards league minimums. Heatley is a $7.5 cap hit. The Sharks are still $3 million or so over. Oh... and now the Sharks need two goalies.

See a trend yet? Every time San Jose is over the cap, they'll have to dump players to get under it. How can you dump players when you don't even have enough to dress a team? I suppose you could trade a Jonathan Cheechoo for draft picks and prospects, effectively boosting the quantity of contracts on the team. But, you'd almost certainly need to make the trade involving Cheechoo first (finding a team willing to take his salary), do this again with maybe one of your extra defensemen; then move for Heatley once you've effectively added enough pieces to man a full team.

Or even more, I suppose you could bury a $3 million dollar player in the minors, and call up 3 minor league forwards to fill your depth (assuming you can find the two way contracts to do so.)

Of course then you'd have to make it attractive enough to Bryan Murray to move Heatley in the first place.

What is my point? That despite the numerous rumours out there that San Jose has interest in Dany Heatley and it could be what stands in the way of the Oilers landing the LW sniper they've been waiting weeks for, interest isn't enough to make this happen. A trade between Ottawa and San Jose isn't just unlikely, it's nearly impossible without a maze of other action to set-up for something that both teams need to agree is not only viable, but somewhat fair. It's hard enough now to do a one for one trade in the NHL.

Perhaps I'm missing something and I invite our readers to post comments letting me know how the options would better work. But to me, it seems a no brainer that of all the teams Heatley could move to, San Jose isn't one of them.

2 comments:

What about two distinct trades where someone like Cheechoo is traded for two or three cheaper players. I know that he won't score 56 again but in the right place, he could get 30.

Then San Jose could trade Marleau, a defenseman and a prospect for something like Heatley and Schubert who can play forward or defense. Schubert's best friend in the NHL is Ehrhoff.

Anonymous
July 23, 2009 at 5:26 PM comment-delete

The big question about that is the ability to trade Cheechoo for the 3 players. That may be tough, add to that Marleau has a no trade clause and has to approve any trade to another team.

Add to that Murray has to approve the trade and if he think Marleau for Heatley straight up is fair, which I would be surprised.

I suppose it's possible, but to me very unlikely.

Anonymous
July 28, 2009 at 8:15 PM comment-delete

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