Archie might have finally picked Veronica over Betty, but in the NHL there’s a bigger choice being debated: Ottawa’s Dany Heatley vs. Boston’s Phil Kessel.
Today at THN.com, Ryan Dixon tackles that very topic as training camps climb closer and both Heatley and Kessel are disgruntled with their current situations.
Dixon starts out liking Heatley’s production and veteran acumen but then factors in the ridiculous cap hit the hard-shooting winger carries. When he turns to Kessel, Dixon factors in the more than $3 million a team could still spend after signing the speedster to a deal in the $4.5 million range. So when it comes down to making a decision, Dixon writes:
“Putting aside the parallels, it comes down to whether you want a big sniper who has already shown his full potential or a fast, burgeoning one who has yet to hit his peak.
“Toss that extra $3-million player in the mix and my scales tip in favor of taking Kessel.”
In the cap era, it’s always best to hedge on the side of the player that eats less space. But I would say the situation definitely changes team to team. If I’m the San Jose Sharks and anything less than the Stanley Cup is a failure, I’d consider Heatley if he meets two requirements: 1. He can mix well with Joe Thornton; 2. He gives his word to play out the rest of this contract without anymore trade demands.
There are a couple other teams that fit this bill. Basically, if you’re one piece away from winning it all, Heatley’s your guy. But Kessel is a more long-term player for an up-and-coming team. The acquiring club has to also already possess the necessary grit and also understand that Kessel is never going to be confused with a street brawler. He’s a goal-scorer who’ll take care of his own end when properly motivated (like he has been under Claude Julien) and a club like Toronto or the New York Rangers might not quite understand that.
Actually, the thought of Kessel trying to play for John Tortorella or Ron Wilson and dealing with the media in those two cities brings up memories of Crocodile Dundee trying to adapt to life in the Big Apple and wearing suits instead of his Outback attire.
In addition to the monetary demands, both players are going to require a decent bounty for a trade. So in the long run, unless you’re one of a handful of teams you’re probably better off letting this situation play out without getting involved and just focus on your own situation. So unless you’re on the cusp of a title or you’re ready to accept Kessel for what he is and ignore his bang for your buck, I’d say, ‘Heatley vs. Kessel?’ Neither.