August 21, 2009


"This is a straight hockey decision. I have nothing against the fans of Ottawa, or the city of Ottawa. I would like the opportunity to go somewhere where I can play to the best of my capabilities and be the player that I can be." [Heatley]

I found the story about Heatley just a little bit troubling. As you are likely aware, several months ago Heatley requested to be traded. Slightly ironically he had requested a no trade clause when he signed his extension meaning that Heatley would have to be consulted first before any trade could be made (that is to say Heatley would have to waive his no trade clause). There is a long list of comments in the article many of which are hoping that he ends up in their city.

However, I do not want him on my team: Vancouver. Or if you're a fan of any team you shouldn't want this player. I wish this article wasn't about his character as a person, but Heatley from his past and now his present his actions show he is a selfish player off the ice, I assume these tendancies are seen on the ice, but I haven't seen enough of him to know.

My complaint with Heatley is best summarized by Murray:
"We signed [Heatley] to a long-term deal and we expect him to honour it," Murray said on Tuesday. "At this point in time he's a Senator."
I can only imagine what people would think, if they signed the best contractor to work on their house and two weeks into a 2 month project the guy comes to you and tells you that you just can't get along and he wants to have his contract traded to a different home to do the same work. You would be stuck trying to offload this crummy annoying contractor to someone else: who would want him? So my argument goes: by requesting a trade he is hurting his own value as a player, but more importantly he is hurting the value of his current contract with Ottawa and thereby hurting Ottawa the most. Certainly Ottawa would get a better trade offer if instead Heatley was traded when it best suited Ottawa not when it best suited Heatley.

Anyway to the main point. Heatley's argument: I was relegated to smaller role on the team. I want to be #1. No one is better than me! Does Heatley have a point or was Clouston re-dsitributing talent to try to balance an unbalanced team? Well lets look at the breakdown:

What I find most enlightening is the "Team minus Heatley" numbers. Clouston improves scoring efficiency by 30% at even strength and 60% for the power play by shifting Heatley around without affecting Heatley's offensive numbers (some even go up). There of course is not enough information to distinguish whether these results are correct or simply random variations. However, these results do not surprise me. A while ago I did a study that absolute offense generally doesn't change much as a result of small changes in ice time. It looks like Heatley might be a bit of a selfish player; caring about his own performance more than that of the team. That's a guy I really want.

Even if Heatley is right, who wants a player who leaves as soon as things go south?