Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray admitted Tuesday that he is "shocked and disappointed" that perennial all-star Dany Heatley has asked to be traded, but is trying to honour his request.
"I have had some conversations with several teams," Murray said. "I don't really have a timetable, but I have encouraged anybody that is really interested to try to make the contact before the [June 26-27] draft and we will get something done by that time, I hope."
Murray revealed that Corey Clouston was "devastated" by Heatley's demand, but dismissed a rumour that the Senators rookie head coach was the reason he wanted out.
"That is not totally true," Murray said. "It is part of the reason."
Murray told reporters that he spoke with Heatley at the end of the regular season, but didn't learn of the high-scoring winger's desire to be dealt elsewhere until last Monday.
Trading him could be difficult because Heatley is slated to make $7.5 million US next season, the third in a six-year, $45-million US contract he signed with Ottawa on Oct. 4, 2007.
"Whether we get the ideal trade or not that is one thing," Murray said. "But I have to get something good for this organization coming back."
Heatley, a two-time 50-goal sniper, had solid numbers last season, posting 39 goals and 33 assists for 72 points with a minus-11 rating in 82 games.
But that output represented his lowest totals in four seasons with the Senators.
He boasted a plus-29 rating in 2005-06, a plus-31 in 2006-07 and a plus-33 in 2007-08.
"It is hard to give up 50 goals," Murray said. "He didn't get it last year, [however] a lot of people underachieved.
"But Dany Heatley is that calibre of goal scorer. To be better than that is going to be difficult, there is no question."
Heatley, 28, has racked up 260 goals and 543 points in 507 games over seven NHL seasons since he was drafted second overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2000.With files from The Canadian Press