15 Years Later: Evaluating Dany Heatley’s Impact on the Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA - FEBRUARY 26: Dany Heatley #15 and Mike Fisher #12 of the Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal against the San Jose Sharks in a game on February 26, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
OTTAWA - FEBRUARY 26: Dany Heatley #15 and Mike Fisher #12 of the Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal against the San Jose Sharks in a game on February 26, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images) /
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OTTAWA – MARCH 11: Jason Spezza #19 and Dany Heatley #15 of the Ottawa Senators stand on the ice during the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 11, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
OTTAWA – MARCH 11: Jason Spezza #19 and Dany Heatley #15 of the Ottawa Senators stand on the ice during the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 11, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images) /

Heatley’s Last Half as a Sen

After the Senator’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals and establishing high hopes for the next few seasons, Ottawa initiated a coaching carousel behind the bench after Bryan Murray was promoted to General Manager, which ultimately led to four different men (including himself) being recycled through the position to replace him. The team itself enjoyed a successful regular season in 2007/08, booking their ticket to the playoffs again only to be swept in the first round by Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. That same season, Heatley saw a dip in offensive numbers because he missed 10 games, but still finished a respectable 15th in league scoring.

The next season, however, saw two more men (Craig Hartsburg and Cory Clouston) brought in as head coaches of the Senators to lead them back to the Stanley Cup Finals, but this inconsistency in messaging from behind the bench frustrated Heatley even though he continued to put up high offensive numbers. The two time 50 goal scorer’s anguish reached it’s peak during the 2008/09 season and requested a trade mid-season, which served as a distraction for the disgruntled Senators organization and increased the animosity between the players and new coach.  After finishing the 2008/09 season with 72 points and the Senators missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996, Heatley was shipped out of Ottawa in the summer in exchange for Johnathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek, and a second-round pick, ending an eventful and historic tenure in the nation’s capital.