So What Are the Options?

We've heard from all sides. Heatley claims it has nothing to do with Edmonton and everything to do with options. As if magically, despite the NHL salary cap; the multiple no movement clauses and the sheer lack of desire from some teams to take on a contract the size of Heatley's; that somehow a multiple number of offers will still come forward. He must not understand that these options he speaks of aren't likely. I'm more inclined to believe it's not options plural that Heatley truly wants, but one more option -- besides Edmonton.

We know the Oilers were not on his original list. We don't know why and no media outlets asked if Heatley would change his stance on the Oilers should it come down to only Ottawa and Edmonton; but from the sounds of it, perhaps they didn't have to. Heatley is not coming to the Oilers. That much can be read from his tone, body language and dissmissal to give more than it "has nothing to do with Edmonton".

So what are Heatley's options? He may not know it, but very few are likely when you consider Brian Murray wants to get something for his superstar scorer.

San Jose has superstars, all of whom have no trade clauses and thus far refused to leave for Ottawa. Marleau has been asked and declined. Cheechoo and Erhoff offered, but declined by Ottawa. Either someone has to give or San Jose is out.

Minnesota has $4 million before they hit the cap. Unless they are willing to move a Brent Burns and a Pierre-Marc Bouchard, which is unlikely for one player it doesn't make a lot of sense. Havlat and Heately would make a great one two punch, but I'm not inclined to believe it will happen. I do think however, of the options Minnesota may be the most realistic.

Vancouver has even less room plus the Sedins. You don't put Heatley with them cause a monkey could score 20 goals on that line. Moving to Vancouver would make Heatley's whole "diminished role" mumbo jumbo just fodder and significantly reduce the odds that Vancouver can spend what it will take to keep Luongo. I suppose Pavol Demitra and Kevin Bieksa might be at least a conversation starter in Ottawa, but I think the focus is and will remain Luongo and that just leaves Heatley out of the question.

Calgary would have to trade Phaneuf. Enough said. Sutter has said he intends to keep that d-core together and win games 2-1 or 1-0. Not exactly the style that fits Heatley. Although I suppose Iginla and Heatley would be interesting. I'd make that trade if I'm Calgary, but I'm not sure Ottawa accepts it.

The Rangers are out, unless they've been signing players with the intent to trade them. I suppose never say never with Glen Sather. You'd almost have to look at Drury for Heatley straight across to make the cap work and for Ottawa, that's one of those "you can't be serious"offers Murray was probably talking about. Sure if you could move Rozsival, that works too, but Sather would have to pull some magic to have enough d-men to play 2009/2010 and fit within the cap. You can only trade so many overpaid players before you run out of the ones other teams might find attractive.

Chicago hardly needs more press -- oh yeah and they're as close to the cap without going over as you'll get. It's like the perfect "Price is Right" bid.

I'm sure I'm missing other teams, since again, no media asked Dany who was actually on his list; but perhaps you get where I'm going with this.

I believe Murray when he says, they're just aren't the offers Heatley thinks there are. I'm sure Heatley is right in that teams would like him. They just can't make it happen under the cap and league rules and as such just aren't trying.

If Heatley goes, and it's likely this could still happen. It won't be to a team he wants and that sucks because Edmonton actually wanted Dany Heatley.

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Has Nothing to Do With Edmonton...We Want Options.

Here is a brief transcript of the conference call. These are not direct quotes, but it gives a good idea of the call and what transpired. All we know is that Heatley has no desire to come to Edmonton and will not make a decision until he has other options.

Money says he'll be back in Ottawa. Here is the conference call.

Q: How long have you wanted a trade?

D: For a long time. Waited till the end of the season. Wanted to intregal part of the team. Role has diminished, which is the biggest factor. Wants to be a guy who plays all aspects and wasn't given that opportunity on the team.

Q: Do you regret what happened.

D: Feels bad it became public and doesn't know how. Senators asked for a trade in writing, they supplied it and a few days later came out.

Q: Are you worried you're considered self-ish?

D: His teammates knows he's a team player and this reputation doesn't worry him.

Q: Did you not feel you owed Senator fans an explanation? Why the long silence? Why not go public?

D: Signed long term in Ottawa because he likes the city. Didn't go public because of the process and want to create more of a circus than it already was.

Q: Ottawa continues to try to trade you but can't. What about returning to Ottawa?

D: I have a contract. I'll be there and ready to go if I need to, but know there are still teams out there and interested. Hopefully something gets done.

Q: Do you worry you've asked for too many trades from teams? Does it worry you that maybe you're need to ask for trades makes it harder to trade you?

D: Not worried about questions of character. Circumstances are different. Atlanta was off-ice, Ottawa is on-ice. Two different thing.

Q: Why is it taking so long to trade you?

D: Don't know but confident something can get done. He knows there are teams interested out there.

Q: Gene Principe: How do you feel about the Oilers courting you? Were you ever closer to saying yes to Edmonton?

D: We had some good talks with Steve and Kevin. Nothing to do with Edmonton. We want options to make the right decision.

Q: Why is Edmonton not the option? How do you feel about your public perception?

D: Canadian hockey fans are passionate. Options. Only been one and we know there are other teams out there. Can't make the right decision until there are a few options. Not on our initial list of teams that they were willing to talk about. Trade option came as a big surprise and not ready to make that decision.

Q: Biggest contract in Senators history? What do you say to fans who think you want out of town.

D: Nothing against the fans. I want to play a more prominant role and be the player I can be.

Q: What was your last conversation between Cory Clouston like?

D: Wasn't tense. It was a matter of sharing feelings. He had his and I had mine.

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What Would I Ask Dany Heatley?...

Edmonton fans are all eager to see and hear what Dany Heatley has to say later today. Sure, we know he's not going to answer almost every question that the media will ask when it comes to his silence, Ottawa, Edmonton or anything regarding what's been keeping us and our ears to the radio for the past two months.

But that may not stop questions from being asked...

What would you ask Dany Heatley? Here's what I'd want to know.

1) Mr. Heatley, the media talks about this list that originally came out -- with the teams you'd be willing to play on. What was on that list? San Jose and New York or a loaf of bread, carton of milk and a stick of butter?

2) What is the original reason you wanted to leave Ottawa? Were you mad that you were given less ice time? Does it bother you that you may get no ice time? Clouston probably doesn't have a hard on for you at this point and you might be riding some serious pine. I'd be upset too that my team was actually winning some games. How dare they?!

3) Mr. Heatley, why wouldn't you want to go to Edmonton? We know that sure it's not listed amongst the top desired teams to play, but you'd get tons of ice time, play with Hemsky, be relied on to be the leader and the superstar you say you want to be? Or are you just worried your ability to stay silent doesn't get you very far in Oil Country? Heaven forbid it's as cold as the snow blizzards you've been facing in Ottawa.

4) Mr. Heatley do you really think that this little press conference is helping out your potential teammates on the Canadian Olympic team? I'm sure just like we are, they're sick of hearing about you and what you aren't saying.

5) Do you understand how the NHL salary cap and supply and demand actually work? We know you understand your own contract and your right to veto any trade (despite the fact you asked for a trade), but do you understand that no team besides Edmonton are willing to take on that contract or can thanks to the cap?

6) Have you talked to Jason Spezza yet? Did you give him a wedding gift? I'm sure an answer in a congratulations card would be enough for him.

7) Am I being too harsh? You haven't really said much...

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Heatley to Go Public, But Who Cares?

Dany Heatley will finally talk. As is being reported by TSN, Dany Heatley will break his silence on Friday and will participate in both a media conference call and a follow-up press conference in Kelowna, B.C to address his ongoing stalemate with the Ottawa Senators.

Word is, that the oh so giving and sensitive Heatley doesn't want his trade demands to over-shadow or deflect any negative attention from Canada's Olympic orientation camp which opens Monday in Calgary.

Don't expect much to answer your questions Edmonton fans, as Heatley's agent Stacey McAlpine says we shouldn't expect his client to shed much light on why the star winger wants out of Ottawa. "There are several factors and a variety of reasons," McAlpine told TSN. "However, out of respect to the Ottawa Senators and all involved, Dany is not getting into specifics...that will remain confidential."

However, most fans won't care and this conference won't change the opinions of fans in Ottawa, Edmonton or the NHL, who understand that this publicity stunt won't actually take away from the Olympic camp, but create a much bigger circus. Sure the media might not write articles about Heatley's reasons for asking for a trade, vetoing the trade and then sitting still while about 4 or 5 NHL teams wonder about their future seasons. Instead we'll all have the luxury of reading about why Heatley didn't say anything, how he'll be received in the Senator dressing room (he'll be a Senator when all is said and done) and just how silly this whole mess has gotten.

I for one think more will come from the tone and demeanor in which he says what he does, than the actual words. But probably still think he made a mockery of the whole no-trade clause stipulation in the NHL, both the Senators and the Oilers and pretty much everyone at Olympic camp will still be frustrated by the constant barrage of questions regarding items unrelated to anything but Dany Heatley.

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An Answer to The Oiler 3rd Line Centre Question

We've talked about Malhotra, Betts, Steckel and others... even names as off the grid as Prospal, and Peca of all people have come up in conversation. One name that has yet to be mentioned (or at least that we've caught wind of) might be available and should be of real interest to the Oilers if he is. His name is Paul Gaustad from the Buffalo Sabres.

By quick glance, his stats make him the perfect 3rd line centre. His salary is a bit higher than you'd like for a 3rd line guy, but definitely within reason and there is a lot you can get out of him for the extra $500,000 or so you'd have to spend to feel good about putting him in your bottom six. Furthermore, if you go beyond a quick glance, you'll see some signs that Gaustad is more than a good fit, he's ideal.

Profile: 6'5" 225 lbs and 27 yrs old

He Plays Both Ways:

His short handed TOI was 4th among Sabres at 135 minutes, which would have also been 4th amongst Oilers and an area where improvement is drastically needed. Buffalo wasn't shy about using him on the power play either.

Faceoff %:

2008/09: 52.7% (2nd on the team)
2007/08 54.9% (1st on the team)
2006/07: 52.8% (4th on the team)

Hits: In 2006/2007, Gaustad led Buffalo in hits with 105 hits. The kicker is, he only played 54 games that year. That's more than anyone on the team, with at least 25 games less than his teammates. That's not rare either. Last year he played 62 games and led the team again with 141 hits. When he's healthy, he blows the rest of the team away in that category... and oh yeah, leads them in blocked shots too, which is no small feat.

He has leadership skills and a good contract:

Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said the team moved quickly to sign Gaustad back in 2008 because of his leadership abilities. ''The focus was on him being somebody that we felt was really important to the team in order to move forward,'' Regier said. ''He is someone who we expect to take a leadership role with this team from the standpoint as an example for younger players and his peers.''

So why, if Buffalo is so high on Gaustad might they consider moving him? Simple. Tomas Kaberle -- or the inability to land Tomas Kaberle. The Sabres wanted a puck moving defenceman, and he was tops on their list. However, as of August 15th, Kaberle's no-movement clause kicked back in the with Toronto and Buffalo was left without their guy.

What does this have to do with Edmonton? Buffalo still wants a puck moving d-man, something Edmonton has a lot of. The beauty is, Buffalo has additional cap space which allow them to make room for a Gilbert at $4 million or a Grebeshkov at $3.15 and move the less expensive Gaustad at $2.3 million.

You have to give to get and Buffalo might be willing to give a little since the closest thing they have to a reliable defenceman is Craig Rivet, who to say the least is not the most offensive threat. It's no wonder, since losing Spacek, Buffalo is feeling some pressure to get something done.

Giving might come in different forms. Maybe they'd be willing to take some contracts the Oilers don't want. Sure Gilbert for Gaustad seems harsh and a lot of Oiler fans will suggest it's a lot to give up. I could throw out some ideas to make the trade more sizeable but still workable under the cap.

My point is, both teams could get what they want and need. Sure you're giving up pieces you wish you could hang on to, but for the sake of your team and it's improved all around line-up, sacrifices must be made. Gaustad seems like the perfect sacrifice.

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Quick News and Rumor Hits For Tuesday August 18, 2009

As always a few quick notes from around the NHL. We'll do what we can to relate them or pass along if the Oilers have any involvement in any of the rumors.

Phil Kessel - San Jose was never in serious contact with Boston. The Oilers have inquired, but the Bruins have made it known they are in no rush to make a move, nor is the Kessel camp to get something signed. They are a ways a part in terms of negotiating the terms, but the Bruins have gone on record saying it is the desire of the organization to keep Kessel and that they would match an offer should one be made to the RFA. The Oilers have not expressed any interest in making an RFA offer, but would consider a trade even though Kessel is likely to miss the first month or so of the season.

Todd Bertuzzi - Had planned to announce his signing as imminent with Detroit and was announced this morning. What most people are ignoring is that Detroit is now over the cap and will have to make a move, even if only a minor one to get back underneath.

Petr Sykora - Tampa looks like his new home. The Oilers aren't interested even though it might be worth seeing if he'd accept league minimum something under $1 million to play here. He tends to score 20 goals no matter who he plays with and brings some leadership and depth on a very young team. Skyora is still working without an agent which may explain one of the reasons he's not yet signed.

More to come later tonight...

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Why Hockey Players Don’t Want to Live in Edmonton: They're Just Not Tough Enough by The Prof

For fans wondering why time after time, players seem to turn down Edmonton as a hockey destination, The Prof lays it out in a way that may explain a lot. Perhaps we're just not attracting players with a thick enough skin...

The Official Edmonton Temperature Chart Adapted from http://www.canadianaconnection.com/cca/hockey.html

So, we here at the Oilers’ Insider are getting sick of people who say that Edmonton is not a great city to play in. Can you imagine: are there actually people in Edmonton who feel our fine city is not an attractive place for hockey players to move? If so, they just aren’t taking the tough-minded view. Here is a note to all these whiners why moving to Edmonton is actually better for people in the long run.

The following temperature conversion chart offers some insight into why playing and living in Edmonton is both a great personal and career move to toughen you up. Clearly, there is much positive to be said about Edmontonians. We are a hardy lot, as the following temperature conversion chart suggests.

At 50° Fahrenheit (10° C)
Most people turn on their heaters. In Edmonton, we plant gardens.

At 40° Fahrenheit (4.4° C)
Most people wear heavy jackets.
 In Edmonton, we sunbathe.

At 32° Fahrenheit (0° C)
Some cars won't start. In Edmonton, we drive with the convertible top down.

At 0° Fahrenheit (-17.9° C)
Americans stay inside, bundle up around the fireplace, and drink cocoa. In Edmonton, we are happy because our beer stays cold while we BBQ.

At -40° Fahrenheit (-40° C)
Grizzly bears are deep in hibernation. In Edmonton, Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door.

At -100° Fahrenheit (-73° C)
Even Santa won’t fly. In Edmonton, we pull down our ear flaps. The occasional wiener might mutter something like, "Cold, eh?"

At -460° Fahrenheit (-273° C)
This is absolute zero, and all atomic motion stops. In Edmonton, we want to see if urine actually freezes before it hits the ground.

At -500° Fahrenheit (-295° C)
Hell freezes over. We celebreate the Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup.

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Oilers Missed the Boat Again...

With the news that Vaclav Prospal has signed a $1.1 million one year deal with the New York Rangers, the Oilers really missed the boat if Prospal was available to them. Fans in Edmonton have been all over the inability of the Edmonton Oilers to add a third line centre to their line up in a much needed area -- faceoff %.

Prospal at $1.1 million would have been perfect in every way. His faceoff numbers just over the last three years:

2008/09: 53%
2007/08: 54.6%
2006/2007: 52.4%

That alone, knowing he could have played a centre role or LW forward in any of your top 3 lines, makes $1.1 million one non-committed one year term, exactly the kind of player the Oilers could have used.

Powerplay would have gone up, he could have taken some pressure of the young guys, provided a little leadership and not affected the cap for the Oilers at all.

Of course it's a big if, that he would have been interested in the Oilers, but if he was, stuff like this disappoints me more than not landing a Dany Heatley ever could.

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