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From the flight of fantasy department:

Speculating about the possible destination of Dany Heatley, in the aftermath of his trade demand from the Ottawa Senators, will eat up much time between now and the NHL's entry draft in 16 days' time. Two factors will make it difficult for Senators' GM Bryan Murray to make a good trade for the disgruntled forward:

One, this is the second time in his career that Heatley has asked out; the first came in his Atlanta Thrashers days, when he felt he couldn't stay in the city and organization after Dan Snyder died as a result of injuries sustained in a car that Heatley was driving and crashed. Teams will start to shy from a player, if they perceive that his loyalty can be so fragile.

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Two, he makes a lot of money, maybe too much money (a $7.5-million U.S. annual average; the next three years at $8-million per season) for a player who is a born sniper, but - as coach Cory Clouston so gently put it - isn't great defensively; and still has a lot to learn about playing in all three zones. Nor is there much of a physical presence in his game.

These days, for that kind of money, teams want Jarome Iginla completeness or Nicklas Lidstrom completeness. How many teams would give up valuable assets in exchange for a player many perceive to be one-dimensional? Murray will know soon enough.

All of which brings us to the one team - the Los Angeles Kings - that, if it really wanted to make a bold move, could do so by targetting both Heatley and the Philadelphia Flyers' Daniel Briere, who is also in the midst of a contract (eight years, $52 million) that is more than his current NHL employer can afford to pay.

Heatley and Briere have a long history of playing together internationally for Canada - with spectacular results. They have great on-ice chemistry; putting them together on the same team, on the same line with, say, Justin Williams, would instantly provide the Kings with an attractive No. 1 line, and leave Anze Kopitar in reserve to anchor a strong No. 2 unit.

Now, moving from flight of fancy to actually making the swap happen are two different things.

Briere could probably be had for the price of his contract - and Los Angeles did bid on his services a couple of years ago, when he ultimately chose to sign in Philadelphia. In Heatley's case, Murray would probably insist on getting players back - although landing younger, cheaper talent probably wouldn't be the worst thing, as the Senators start to retool under Clouston, where they'll likely try for a grittier overall bunch.

Meanwhile, adding two players of Heatley's and Briere's stature would push the Kings perilously close to the salary cap. On the other hand, they are operating in a market where they've become largely irrelevant after six consecutive years out of the playoffs.

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Some sort of an impact move is long overdue.

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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