Woot woot. Per TSN, Heatley will be a Sen for at least 6 more years. Gotta say, signing him for under 8 is nothing less than a coup for Bryan Murray. People can only speculate what he could have gotten on the open market, but obviously it could easily be a million or two higher.
Next up for the Sens will be Spezza, although don't be shocked if Kelly is the priority. Paddock loves the guy (he was his "C" in Binghamton) and he has proved himself to be a very valuable guy.
While this may mean the end of Vermette or Eaves' (possibly both) time in Ottawa, let's be honest. Who would you rather have to replace? Kelly will most likely be the top priority after Spezza as Paddock (and it would seem Murray) are very high on him. He was Paddock's C in Binghamton, and it is probable that he will be relied apon more and more this year.
The only people who probably won't like this are Leafs and possibly Canucks fans who were hoping he might migrate east.
It's interesting as in the past few years, all the enormous free agents have signed with their teams. Thornton, Iginla, Crosby (though RFA), Heatley. I think a lot of people are still interested in seeing what a premiere talent will make on the open market. I wonder what this is going to do with RFA's, as teams delay dealing with them and concentrate on the UFA's.
Ottawa is lucky. It is putting itself in a similar position to San Jose in attempting to follow the New England Patriots approach of identifying key players, and signing them for below market value. Phillips, Volchenkov, Heatley. It's nice to see from a Sens fan point of view. Now of course they still have to win, but you have to admit that having Heatley in the fold vastly improves their chances.
oh, and thank you Redden for your years of service, but this probably will mean goodbye.