Amidst all the screaming and self-righteous indignation, we finally get a reasoned and logical take on the Heatley situation from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News who has the balls to infer that maybe Murray could have handled this situation a little better than he did:
"Before any trade was made, Murray could have forced Heatley to waive his no-trade clause unconditionally.....
There would have been nothing preventing the Senators from telling Heatley to write a letter to Central Registry pre-approving a trade to any one of the other 29 teams. No letter to Central Registry, no trade. Simple as that."
He's got a point. Murray approached the trade with Edmonton from a position of weakness, probably just hoping that negative public opinion would force Heatley to accept.
Heatley was well within his rights to not only ask for a trade, but to use his no-movement clause as is spelled out clearly in his contract. It doesn't make him morally right, but it makes him technically right, if you know what I mean. When you take the emotion out of it, the argument doesn't seem as unbalanced as many make it out to be.
I took a lot of heat (pun definitely intended) for saying much the same thing, but as Campbell points out, the contract Heatley negotiated in "good faith" gives him all the power in this situation, like it or not.
"First, he asked for a trade. Well, anyone from a minimum-wage plug to a 50-goal scorer has the right to do that.
He invoked his no-trade clause when a deal he didn’t like became available. That’s another right he has, one to which he and the Senators agreed when they consummated a six-year, $45 million contract extension a couple of months after the Senators went to the Stanley Cup final in 2007. The ubiquitous “no movement” clause is a classic team-killer that will undoubtedly be a major element in the next round of CBA negotiations, but the fact remains it was negotiated in good faith by both sides.
So it’s a bit of a stretch for anyone to believe the Senators might have a basis for a grievance because Heatley put them in such an untenable situation. "
With all that being said, it looks like Heatley's reputation has hit the terminal point around the league. What looks legit in a contract doesn't always matter to a tempestous fan base and a traditional old boys network around league offices who aren't exactly sympathetic to anyone who carries an NHLPA membership card in their wallet.