Milan Michalek will bring size and skill to a Senators team in need of both. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
It goes without saying Ottawa GM Bryan Murray was faced with a tough task in dealing star winger Dany Heatley to San Jose on the weekend.
After all, with Heatley’s trade demands being so public, Murray’s leverage wasn’t exactly plum. It’s as if the GM was playing Texas Hold ’em with his peers, but had to tell them one of his cards was the 10 of spades before anyone bet.
So in getting Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a second round draft pick in return, I think Murray got fair market value for his disillusioned asset. And that’s not easy to do these days.
Just to mix it up, let’s start with the draft pick. San Jose will no doubt be a very good team this season and that draft pick will likely occur at the end of the round, making the pick somewhere in the No. 55 to 60 slot. Looking back at recent drafts, players of a very high caliber were picked in that zone.
Wayne Simmonds of the Kings was the last pick of the second round in 2007 and he’s already an NHLer. Jamie McBain was in the same slot in ’06 and was one of Carolina’s top players on its highly successful rookie team last week. The dynamic blueliner even has a shot at the big team going into training camp. Maxim Lapierre went 61st overall to Montreal in ’03, while Matt Stajan and Jiri Hudler were picked consecutively by Toronto and Detroit the year before that Nos. 57 and 58.
In Cheechoo, we all know the tattered timeline: former 56-goal scorer bottoms out with 12 markers just three seasons later. In order to get some semblance of order in Cheechoo’s stats, let’s say he’s probably a 25-30 goal man at heart. Same goes for assists.
Michalek, one of those rising stars San Jose always needed to do more in the playoffs but never quite did, is nevertheless a tantalizing package of size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) and skill, whose totals have generally come in around the 55-65 point range.
Given that this 2-for-1 roster player deal has increased Ottawa’s depth, the Sens now go into the season with Spezza, Alfredsson and Kovalev as a pretty tasty looking top line and the two ex-Sharks surrounding Mike Fisher following them up. Not too shabby.
Heatley, when not flummoxed, is a legitimate 50-goal scorer and 100-point man. Playing on a line in San Jose with Joe Thornton, he will achieve that again. In order to even up the equation, we need to add another Shark to replace Michalek in the lineup, so let’s just bump Jamie McGinn up on the depth chart. McGinn, a gritty, hard-working winger who split his time between San Jose and American League Worcester last season, is probably good for approximately 20-25 points for a full season of NHL hockey.
So right now the Sharks get more offense out of the deal, but Ottawa gets more depth, which is what the Sens needed – different value for different teams; what a concept!
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog will appear regularly throughout the off-season, his column - The Straight Edge - on Fridays, and his prospect feature - The Hot List - on Tuesdays.
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