Interesting deal from Ottawa's perspective. Milan Michalek is a darn fine young offensive player. They have gotten themselves a high end NHL forward in return for Heatley, obviously not in Heatley's offensive class. Cheechoo is a salary dump. The question is whether he can be a useful salary dump after all just because you're overpaid doesn't mean you're not an NHL level talent. Cheechoo's recent history suggests he's damaged goods and/or suffering from off-ice problems. While I believe that San Jose has received easily the most talented and productive player in the trade, Ottawa's team character may have improved by subtraction of the me-first man-child.
What makes Michalek valuable isn't just or mainly his offense and points but his rugged two way play and style of play drivng to the net blowng by dman, dig and cycle in the corners and around the net. He is a big power forward type unlke the protypical skilled euro, who has oodles of speed and skill and untapped potential still. He is also an outstanding two way player. He is 6-3 225 forward who is also one of the fastest players around in the NHL unlike Heatley.
He will likely never score as much as Heatley but I think he can be a superior overall player if he even becomes a 35/80 pt player along side Spezza than even 50/100 Heatley was.
Cheechoo I am not as high on due to his numbers from the last 2 seasons in SJ. But one thing he is not at least is lazy or passive. He is very involved and like Michalek is hard on the forecheck and makes live diffcult for dman getting puck. On the other hand, someone making 3 mill and scored 50, and couple of 30 goals seasons before better score at least 20 goals. Grit and being noticable out there isn't enough.
Checkout Dan Boyle's personal blog on Michalek and the trade:
He was maybe the most skilled player we had here and I feel he will be a dominant player when he puts it all together. He has shown us all what he can do when he is on. The guy has elite speed and a bullet of a shot