OTTAWA (CP) -- The Ottawa Senators acquired sniper Dany Heatley from the Atlanta.
Thrashers in exchange for forward Marian Hossa and defenceman Greg de Vries on Tuesday.
"We had approached the Thrashers a couple of weeks ago requesting a change of environment," Heatley's agent Stacey McAlpine said. "It was an extremely difficult decision, but we all worked together to try and get things resolved and it looks like we were able to do that."The Senators promptly signed Heatley, a restricted free agent, to a three-year deal. The Calgary native is to meet the media Wednesday in Ottawa.
The deal comes hours after the Senators avoided salary arbitration with Hossa by signing the star forward to an $18-million US, three-year deal.A source said Hossa will earn $5 million this season, $6 million in 2006-07 and $7 million the following season.The move gives Heatley a fresh start, away from Atlanta where he was involved in a high-speed car crash in the fall of 2003 that resulted in the death of friend and teammate Dan Snyder and left Heatley with multiple injuries."Over the course of time, we experienced some unfortunate incidents and encountered some challenging issues," McAlpine said. "I think it was a combination of several things that slowly, over time, led us to the decision that it might be in everybody's best interests to work together to try to find a new opportunity, a new home, a new place to play."McAlpine said contract negotiations contributed to the decision but were not a major factor."Certainly, some of those issues were more important than others," he said. "Ultimately, this decision for us wasn't so much of a business decision. It was more of a life decision."For the Senators, they get some relief from Hossa's freshly minted big-ticket salary while acquiring a big name in exchange. Heatley is a restricted free agent.Ottawa already had a payroll of some $31 million for this season, meaning a big Hossa settlement would push them near the $39-million salary cap. Most teams are also trying to leave a gap under the cap, so they have some room in case of injuries.Hossa, 26, led the Senators with 36 goals and 46 assists in 2003-04, the last season before the lockout. He has scored 20 goals or more the last four NHL seasons, collecting 188 goals and 202 assists in 467 career games, all with Ottawa. Heatley, 24, has 80 goals and 101 assists in 190 NHL regular-season games although injuries from the car crash limited him to 13 goals and 12 assists in 31 games in 2003-04.He was injured again while playing in Switzerland during the lockout when a puck struck him in the face, breaking the orbital bone.The second overall pick in the 2000 draft, he was the league's top rookie in 2001-02. His best season was 2002-03, when he had 41 goals and 48 assists. But his career was derailed in September 2003.The MVP of the 2004 IIHF men's world hockey championship, Heatley was driving his Ferrari convertible on a curved road in a residential area when it ran into a brick pillar and iron fence. Snyder, a passenger, died after several days in a coma.In February, Heatley was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to give 150 speeches about the dangers of speeding after pleading guilty in the death of Snyder in a plea bargain.Heatley has mixed emotions about leaving Atlanta, McAlpine said, but is thrilled to be returning to his native country."He's got his fair share of experience playing for Team Canada and wearing the Team Canada colours," McAlpine said. "He's proud to be a Canadian and is pretty excited about coming back to Canada."De Vries, 32, has played in 566 regular season games.
-thanks to www.tsn.ca