Dany Heatley no longer wants to be an Ottawa Senator because of his diminished role on the team, but says he’ll report to training camp next month if the Sens can’t trade him by then.
The 28-year-old winger finally broke his silence Friday about his desire to leave Ottawa.
“When I signed in Ottawa two years ago, I felt it was to be an integral part of the team,” Heatley said during a conference call. “Over the last two years and more recently over the past year, I feel my role was diminished. This past season, it diminished a lot more.
“I’m a player who can play in a lot of different situations. I don’t feel I was given that role on the team.
“I’d like the opportunity to go somewhere where I can play to the best of my capabilities and be the player I can be.”
Heatley, who makes his off-season home in Kelowna, B.C., is one of 46 players invited to the Olympic men’s team orientation camp starting Monday in Calgary.
Addressing the media was a means of defusing the hubbub that would have accompanied him to camp. Following the conference call he did a media conference with reporters in Kelowna.
Later in the day, Senators general manager Bryan Murray did a conference call of his own.
“It’s been a frustrating time for us,” he said of the Heatley situation.
Murray said he hasn’t given up moving the disgruntled player.
“I heard him say he wants to be traded and we’ll continue to work with him in that area,” said Murray.
The two-time 50-goal scorer for Ottawa did not endear himself to Senators fans by wanting out of Canada’s capital less than two years after signing a US$45-million, six-year contract extension.
“I love the fans in Ottawa and I think it’s a great city and that’s why I signed long-term there,” Heatley said. “The reason I didn’t speak until now is simply because there’s process that has to take place.
“In all fairness to Ottawa and other teams involved, I didn’t feel it was necessary or purposeful to come out publicly and create more of a circus than it already was.”
Heatley and coach Corey Clouston did not warm to each other when Clouston took over for the fired Craig Hartsburg on Feb. 2, but Heatley says he will report to Ottawa’s training camp if a deal isn’t done by then.
“I have a contract and I’m going to honour that contract,” he said. “If I’m still a Senator a training camp time, I’ll there ready to go.
“I think we know there’s other teams out there who are interested and hopefully something can get done. The request stands and I know there’s teams out there who are interested.”
Ottawa had a tentative trade worked out with the Edmonton Oilers in late June involving Oiler forwards Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner and defenceman Ladislav Smid.
But Heatley would not waive his no-trade clause to seal the deal. He said Edmonton was not on the list of desired destinations he’d given to Ottawa.
“It had nothing to do with Edmonton personally,” Heatley said. “I just wasn’t ready to make a decision at that time and I’m still not ready to make a decision until there are other options.
“To this date, there’s only been one option and I know there’s other teams out there.”
Heatley comes with a hefty price tag as he counts $7.5 million toward the salary cap of $56.8 million next season.
He’s coming off an off-year by his standards with 39 goals and adding 33 assists in 82 games last season. That’s his lowest point total in four seasons with the Senators after he asked the Atlanta Thrashers to trade him in 2005.