Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heater-into-Shark Metamorphoses?! Is it Possible?!

ERRRRRRG. Famed rumor-monger (but published in the Serious Newspapers) Bruce Garrioch is reporting that Ottawa GM Bryan Murray turned down an opportunity to send Dany Heatley to San Jose in exchange for Jonathan Cheechoo, Christian Ehrhoff, and a 1st round draft pick.

I'd hit it. Murray, apparently, wouldn't.

Other folks are talking about some sort of 3-team trade that would make Heatley a Shark.

The 3-team trade sounds plausible, but even the journalists reporting this say Doug Wilson is dragging his feet on acquiring Heatley. As he should. Why blow up a roster as good as the current Sharks for Dany Heatley?

"But Dany Heatley is awfully good," I hear you say.

This is true. After Ovechkin and Kovalchuk, I'd say Heatley is the best sniper in the league. He IS awfully good. But does Doug Wilson really think that Heatley is the guy that's going to get them through the playoffs, all the way to a Stanley Cup? Having Heatley on his wing would inflate Joe Thornton's regular season assist statistics into the 800s, I'm sure, but I don't think Heatley is the guy that will bring them the Cup. Which is, after all, all the Sharks need right now: someone to carry them through the playoffs, not a super goal-scorer.

The Sharks are an insanely talented team, but they don't have a ton of mental or physical toughness. That's why they can't giturdun in the post-season. In an ideal (for them) world they'd sign someone like Iginla or Kovalchuk or Ovechkin to play with Marleau and Thornton, someone highly dogged and competitive.

That's not Heatley. Yes, he'd score 50 goals during the regular season. But he won't bring the Cup to Silicon Valley.

That said, Ottawa is foolish to turn down a Heatley-for-Cheechoo trade. If Heatley really, really wants to leave Ottawa, you could do worse than to unload him for the likes of the Cheechoo Train. Heatley, of course, is 100 times better than Cheechoo, but he doesn't want to stay in Ottawa and a top six that includes Spezza, Alfredsson, Kovalev, and Cheechoo really ain't so bad. This has already been said by quite a few folks, but I see no reason not to repeat it: Cheechoo isn't as good as his 56-goal season (a product of him at his absolute best playing alongside Joe Thornton playing at his absolute best), but he's not as bad as his recent low-scoring seasons either. He's suffered quite a bit from injuries, and last season saw him stuck on the 3rd line with limited ice-time.

As PJ at Sharkspage says:

That Ottawa allegedly didn't "want anything to do" with right wing Jonathan Cheechoo according to Garrioch is short-sided and foolish. His heavy shot and quick release have not diminished in the slightest, and he remains a deadly option for any power play. Cheechoo struggled with a broken thumb and a double hernia surgery which limited his production to 37 goals and 23 goals the two seasons after his Rocket Richard winning 56 in 2005-06. This year Cheechoo was the odd man out in a numbers game that saw seven top-6 forwards in the same lineup. Cheechoo was relegated to limited minutes on a third line that was racked with injuries (Goc, Plihal, Marleau, Roenick).

Cheechoo has struggled to regain the form that allowed him to slide into open areas in front of the net, but in the proper situation he should be a lock for at least 20-30 goals.

Sounds about right to me. I, for one, would love to have him on the Thrashers power play.

ALL THAT SAID, I really don't want Heatley to become a Shark. If he does I'll, I'll...well, I'll run away to Coyoacán.


The Falconer said...

Cheechoo minus Thornton is not that great of a player IMO.

Mortimer Peacock said...

Certainly not great, but pretty good I think. He scored 28 goals in 03-04, pre-Thornton. He's a 20-somethhing goal-scorer when he's 1) not hurt, and 2) given power play time.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate you opinion, but I don't think you watch the Sharks very much. I watch every game and this simply isn't true. I know it's the consensus around the league that the Sharks don't win because they lack heart, physicality, whatever. And some of that is definitely true. They are one of the biggest taems in the league yet they're not really tough or anything. But they do hit sometimes, and Doug Murray hits as hard as anyone in the league.

But even though that's the general consensus, that is NOT the main problem. I assure you, it is not.

EVERY postseason these last few years, THE SHARKS CAN NOT SCORE.

They can't score. You might think they're insanely talented from a distance, but look at things closer... Who can score on the sharks? They have big names, but they're not big names that score.

Patrick Marleau is not a goalscorer. Before this season he barely cracked 30 goals. And this season he got tons of easy rebounds into open nets because of TM's new system. He is not a goalscorer.

Joe Thornton, not a goalscorer.

Rob Blake, not a goalscorer, no longer has a hard shot. Pavelski, Michalek, Clowe, not really goalscorers, more all around players.

Setoguchi = goalscorer, but not a premier one.

They don't have a single pure goalscorer to carry them through the playoffs.

So would it be better if Heatley was also a really good dangler, and passer, and hitter? Yes. It would. But he's not.

As is, will he help the Sharks?

Oh my will he. He will help them incredibly. The Sharks lack the element of someone with a fantastic shot, and who's good at getting open like Heatley.

Honestly I would not lie about this, they do not have anyone who can shoot the puck half as good as Heatley does. Every season, JT makes a lot of good passes, and many of htem get wasted because of bad finishing. Finally, if they get Heatley, that will no longer be the case.

So this is how it shakes down. Right now, the Sharks lack pure goalscorers like Heatley. They also lack pure danglers, Kessel, Hemsky, Semin, Afinogenov... And, like you said, they also lack some physicality, heart, whatever. You're not going to be able to get all of those things in one guy. The Sharks are lucky to have the opportunity to just fill such a big one (goalscoring) with Heatley.

Anonymous said...

Continued ........

But, will he put them over the top?

Probably not. But think about it - what one player would? Besides an Ovechkin or Kovalchuk, or Crosby, Malkin, there aren't many players like that.

What the sharks need to do is trade for Heatley. Then trade for Kessel as well. That will fix their two biggest problems in terms of ability.... dangling and goalscoring. Then on top of that they are going to have to add a few bottom line players anyway because their roster is not full. They should also sign Afinogenov for less than 2mil if they can. If not they can't afford to. That will go even further towards helping their dangling. And on top of that they should look to add some players with heart and grit but who can also score some on the bottom lines.

Then, they will be a fantastic, stanley cup winning team.

And Heatley is the first step. If it wasn't for him asking for a trade, you would all be like "OMG, SAN JOSE CAN GET HEATLEY, ONE OF THE TOP 5 PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE, FOR SUCH A GOOD PRICE????"

But now because everyone has lost sight of things since he asked for a trade, people are like "Well, he doesn't hvae heart. He doesn't backcheck. He can't play in the playoffs. He's only the 20th best player in the league now. All he can do is shoot. He's a jackass. His contract is too big."

Some of the things people are saying may be true, and most of them probably aren't.

But the bottom line guys, is IT'S DANY FREAKIN HEATLEY. He's a top 10 sniper in the league. One of very few players to have scored 50 goals twice. and the sharks can get him for Ehrhoff and spare parts? Or if Ottawa wants a goalscorer, they can get him for Michalek and spare parts... which is what DW should be offering instead of Ehrhoff.

Just forget all the gossip because it's just stupidity. All that matters is it's Dany Heatley, and the Sharks could get him on a line with Joe Thornton, and for a discount price.

How could that NOT help them?

Mortimer Peacock said...


I take all your points, but my original point was that the Sharks may not have a 50-goal scorer like Heatley, but quite a few people on the team (forwards and defense) score enough to get them into the playoffs each year. Their problems in the playoffs, from my point of view, don't have to do with lack of scoring, they have to with the fact that the Sharks lack endurance. "Mental and physical toughness" is a vague way of putting things, but I didn't mean they lack heart or physicality so much as the over-the-top competitiveness and endurance you need to win the Stanley Cup.

Does that make any sense?

And yes, Heatley would make them even better during the regular season. It's POSSIBLE he could get them to the next level; I just really doubt it. But maybe my dislike of Heatley is clouding things a bit.

Mortimer Peacock said...

And not to sound ultra-defensive, but I do watch a huge amount of Sharks games every year. Living here allows me to go to a Thrashers game, come home, and watch the Sharks game in its entirety, long into the transcontinental night.

But definitely not every game.