It's Dany Heatley's last year in his contract with the Minnesota Wild, and he knows it'll be make or break time for him coming into this season. So I get the feeling that he'll be motivated since he knows that he needs to put up the numbers that he was brought in for. Considering Dany Heatley's previous 50-goal seasons in the NHL , many Wild fans expected more than the 35 goals he has provided in two seasons for the Wild.
Heatley was never considered on top defensive forward to begin with, and now he's beginning to decline. His skating ability has definitely slipped away from him, and has a showing a minus- 12 rating last season. He needs to generate consistent offense if he wants to justify his cap hit of 7.5 million this season.
The Wild needs Heatley to rebound this coming season. Heatley still has the sniping shot that he's known for. And it's likely that the Wild will be playing him on the second line after he played mostly on the third line last season, and he should benefit from the increased opportunity that's given to him.
If the Wild want to go deep into the season plus the playoffs, they need Heatley to provide secondary scoring. He has not had a 30- goal season since 2009- 2010, the Wild would need Heatley to put up at least 25-30 goals, and probably 50 points to prove that he's still worthy of his contract. By putting Heatley on the second line and giving him time on the first power play unit, Heatley may go back to some of his quality scoring that he has done in his past seasons. But, this production may be too much for Wild fans and management to expect from a player who's best seasons might be behind him.
We can only hope if Heatley understands that it's put up or shut up.