It's easy to forget that Dany Heatley has about the same cap hit as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter when you look at his numbers. The Wild do not have the services of the Dany Heatley of old; he is now mostly used on the third line with Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck. He's been the subject of trade rumors since his Ottawa days and this year is no different. Fact of the matter is that he is unlikely to be a fixture in the Wild's long term plans, unless he takes a massive pay cut to stay.
Let's try to analyze this as best we can, shall we?
Heatley's cap hit is 7.5 million for this year and next year.
He has 19 points (9G, 10A) in 33 games, with an average TOI of 18:16.
He is dead last on the team in +/- along with Tom Gilbert and Kyle Brodziak, sporting a -11.
Third amongst team forwards in PP TOI per game with 3:02.
He has 9 goals on 72 shots, 12.5% shooting.
The situation (Not talking about Jersey Shore)
He is being paid 1st line money, but certainly isn't a 1st line player anymore. Perhaps he could be one on a team like the Florida Panthers or something, but the last place team in the NHL does not need Dany Heatley right now, it needs to step back and save their money for the prospects. Would a top flight team like Boston or Chicago be willing to take Heatley on a Cup run? Maybe he if were on the last year of his contract, but right now, Chicago and Boston have about 3.7 and 6.6 million in cap space respectively, and they would have to send back some salary of their own. How about a team fighting for their playoff lives, such as the New Jersey Devils, with whom Heatley was linked in rumors? Would they be willing to sacrifice a piece of the future to make the playoffs in the present? Will they think adding Dany Heatley will be enough? Anything can happen in the playoffs, but it's still a pretty big gamble and most teams elect to play it safe.
To add to all that, Heatley has a No Movement Clause, so any trade would need to be okayed by him. I don't know that he's unhappy enough with his role that he would demand a trade, and I think he's pretty excited to be a part of this team, especially when they got Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Heater has complete control of his fate. Maybe next season, he becomes unhappy. Maybe next season, he absolutely won't want to leave. We can't tell for sure.
Another question is does Heater even need to be traded? Right now, he makes the third line a scoring threat and we're not sure what will happen with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard this season. Maybe two years from now the Wild will want to keep him on the team as a 2nd/3rd liner with a pay cut.
In short, I think he's staying put this year and there are too many questions to answer when wondering if he'll get traded next year. How will he perform next year and what could the Wild realistically get for a guy not playing up to his colossal cap hit? What role will he have next year? Will he even want to leave? Will the Wild be contenders or pretenders?
What do you think?