The number 15 Wild sweater will one day be worn by a player who is fast. Today is not that day.
Dany Heatley could well be the biggest name to ever skate for the Minnesota Wild. Sure, Marian Gaborik is out there, but he wasn't big time until after he left. Mikko Koivu is certainly the biggest name to develop and play here, but when Chuck Fletcher announced he had traded for Heatley, jaws dropped. That has never happened here before. Even the Brent Burns trade didn't turn heads like Heatley for Havlat.
Did the Wild get the Heatley that puts up 50+ goals a season? Nope. But they did get rid of a cancer and brought in a guy more than capable of 30+ and a true leader in the room. Is that enough to secure him a place in report card heaven?
|2011 - Dany Heatley||82||24||29||53||2||28||8||0||3||238|
Nathan- Career low in goals. Career low in points. Career low shooting percentage. But .. he was healthy all year. He worked his ass off this year, playing better in the neutral and defensive zone this season than he ever had previously in his career. Maybe, just maybe he's becoming a better all-around player now that his offensive skills are waning? Either way, I am a huge Dany Heatley fan as a result of this season. I wanted nothing to do with him coming in. He was lazy, huge ego, cancer, etc. etc. etc.
Now, I don't know if it was the system, Mikko Koivu's influence or a change of heart, but this was an entirely different Dany Heatley. than anybody had previously encountered.
Too bad he can't score 45 goals anymore. That's why he's here and has such a high cap hit. Expectations folks. Expectations. Mine will be different next season. Like I said, I'm now a Dany Heatley fan.
Bryan - Generally, a guys who puts up 53 points at a cap hit of $7 million per needs to get ripped apart. However, consider that it was either Heatley or Martin Havlat. I honestly think paying $7 million just to have Havlat off the team would have been acceptable. Getting Heatley was just a bonus.
Heatley is not a pure goal scorer. He isn't Sidney Crosby. He isn't going to take the puck the length of the ice, make three or four moves, and roof a shot past Tim Thomas. He compares more to Marian Gaborik, in that he needs someone to create space, and get him the puck. Given those two things, Heatley will finish 90% of the time. That's better than anything else the Wild have, and he needs to be given credit for that.
He is also a big time leader in the room. Fans in San Jose and Ottawa may disagree, but players, coaches, the GM, and the owner all say he is, so I'll buy it. Is leadership worth $7 million a year in and of itself? Nope. But he is the first player that has been able to keep up with Mikko Koivu, and that has to count for something.
He isn't perfect, and he isn't the Dany Heatley of old, but he is still a damn fine hockey player. Heaters gonna heat.
Jesse- I'm sure I'll be totally blasted for this grade, but I can't get around the pricetag. I do understand the argument about Koviu being injured and Heatley being a better player with the Kaptain, but at $8 million in real salary, Dany shouldn't need someone to hold his hand all the time. He was touted as an elite finisher, and he responded by basically disappearing when the team needed him the most. The Wild, by the basic numbers, were better offensively with Bruno and Mittens on the top line. That shouldn't happen in any type of reality, yet that is the reality of the situation.
I think the biggest quarrel I have with Heatley is that he didn't really make the team around him better. Not only was this a career low in goals in a full season, but it was also a big drop in assists to a career low as well.
Also, 19 total points on the powerplay doesn't cut it for a guy who is supposed to be a premier PP guy. You can make the argument that the PP being bad is why Heatley didn't score powerplay goals, but I can just as easily say that the PP was bad because Heatley didn't score PP goals. It may end up being a "chicken or the egg" argument, but I'm going to go in the direction of the latter.
Career low in goals, career low in assists, career low in shooting percentage...yeah, that's pretty much a failed season.
JS- For me, Dany Heatley's performance is somewhat of a mixed bag: His offensive production was kind of disappointing and seemed to be unable to carry the team in Mikko Koivu's absence, despite carrying the 7th highest cap in the league. On the other side of the coin, he played every single game this season and was a clear improvement over Martin Havlat both in terms of leadership and defensive skills. Dany Heatley is a sniper, sure, but he also needs someone to feed him the puck to be effective.
To some, it may be unfair to expect too much from him when he played with Warren Peters as his linemate at one point, but he's supposed to be the main source of goals and as late as the final weeks of the season, he was tied with Kyle Brodziak, a 3rd line center who hasn't had the privilege of sharing a line with Koivu at any point. Granted, Brodziak spent some time on the first line and had a career season, the point is Heatley was supposed to be the go-to-guy. Sure, he ended up taking the team lead in goals, but would Brodziak have won that honor if Koivu had been shut down for the rest of the season?
7th highest cap in the league should produce more results. He shouldn't be slowed down by Koivu's absence, he should be able to carry the load in that event. Again though, clear improvement over Martin Havlat. Fletcher said he would do that trade again and I would agree with him every single time. Still, I expect much more from Heater next year.