Burned by the Heater

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dany Heatley has been struggling this season, but we look at how much better the Wild play without him.

It was the first healthy scratch of his career two Saturday's ago, when Mike Yeo pulled Dany Heatley from the lineup. In a game that the Wild needed to win desperately to keep its playoff hopes alive, Heatley, once a 50 goal scorer, was sent to the press-box. The 33-year old winger for the Wild has seen his production fall off a cliff. His inability to carry the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone and costly turnovers ultimately landed him on the fourth line, where frankly, he just isn't a fourth line grinder. After a big win against the Coyotes, Yeo continued with the same lineup through the next 5 games until the Wild secured a playoff position in the Western Conference. "We’re trying to get four lines that make sense, four lines that get going, and for this particular game, this is what we felt we needed," said to the Star Tribune before the showdown in the desert. With the many lines he has played on and how much of a dead weight he seemed to be with other speedy forwards, it's surprising that Yeo had waited until Game 75 to pull him.

Mike Yeo's dealing with Dany Heatley has been criticized all season long. People would call into Wild Fanline, comment on HW, and don't even get me started on the Star Tribune comments section, and ponder about the reasoning for Yeo's refusal to sit him. The so-called "Hockey Experts" are increasingly puzzled as to how or why Healtey's game has slipped into the the depths of ineptitude as quickly and as completely as it has. I, among other people, thought Heatley was poised for a season in which he would return to elite goal scoring form after entering training camp in better shape. "SAMSONITE!!! I was way off," when it came to Dany Heatley.

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

+/-

PIM

SOG

SH%

PPG

PPA

TOI/G

76

12

16

28

-18

18

110

10.9

4

6

14:49

You can see that his generic stats are not good. For a former 50 goal scorer, 12 goals is a far cry from the days of yesteryear. I know plus-minus is an outdated stat, as well as a stat that is extremely arbitrary and inconsistent, but a -18 is not good, no matter how you attempt to explain it. Couple the minus-18 with the limited ice-time; anyone can assume that he is failing at creating offense and also not taking care of business in his own end.

With the help from fellow writer Ger Devine, we jumped further into the advanced stats to see just how detrimental he was to the team.

When On Ice Together

Player

TOI

GF20

GA20

GF%

CF20

CA20

CF%

Niederrieter

187:29

0.640

0.853

42.9

15.15

17.81

46.0

Brodziak

133:52

0.598

1.345

30.8

14.79

21.36

40.9

Granlund

217:54

0.275

0.734

27.3

14.23

19.00

42.8

Fontaine

78:40

0.508

0.763

40.0

13.73

19.58

41.2

Suter

346:38

0.462

0.692

40.0

15.98

19.79

44.7

Coyle

316:36

0.632

0.821

43.5

15.16

19.65

43.6

Brodin

305:00

0.328

0.918

26.3

14.23

17.51

44.8

Scandella

272:40

0.734

0.587

55.6

15.48

19.00

44.9

Spurgeon

238:06

0.840

0.756

52.6

17.39

20.16

46.3

Stoner

225:43

0.443

0.797

35.7

14.35

18.08

44.3

Pominville

218:53

0.457

0.640

41.7

16.54

16.54

50.0

Prosser

163:31

0.856

1.101

43.8

15.29

18.10

45.8

Ballard

161:01

0.497

1.366

26.7

12.30

19.38

38.8

Zucker

130:01

0.923

0.308

75.0

15.54

21.07

42.4

Haula

87:21

0.687

0.229

75.0

17.86

16.71

51.7

Cooke

78:43

0.508

1.270

28.6

14.23

21.60

39.7

Koivu

77:14

0.777

1.036

42.9

17.09

15.02

53.2

McCormick

33:03

0.605

0.000

100.0

13.92

21.79

39.0

Blum

26:55

0.743

0.000

100.0

14.86

12.63

54.1

Parise

20:19

0.984

0.984

50.0

17.72

23.63

42.9

Moulson

4:56

0.000

0.000

0.0

12.16

16.22

42.9

Harding

331:27

0.422

0.603

41.2

15.45

17.98

46.2

Backstrom

226:41

0.618

1.059

36.8

16.23

19.06

46.0

Kuemper

281:31

0.710

0.710

50.0

15.27

20.18

43.1

Bryzgalov

51:48

0.386

1.931

16.7

10.81

15.44

41.2

The Wild's average Corsi For % with Heatley on the ice is 44.8%. This meaning that the Wild players are unable to generate good possession with him in the lineup, almost no matter who he is playing with as linemates.

Compare this to the stats when the same players are without him.

Teammate When Apart

Player

TOI

GF20

GA20

GF%

CF20

CA20

CF%

Niederrieter

773:03:00

0.802

0.517

60.8

17.36

16.35

51.5

Brodziak

875:53:00

0.479

0.479

50

14.27

17.63

44.7

Granlund

619:20:00

0.872

0.614

58.7

17.02

17.31

49.6

Fontaine

618:00:00

0.68

0.421

61.8

14.89

16.89

46.8

Suter

1351:05:00

0.74

0.518

58.8

16.09

16.67

49.1

Coyle

600:54:00

0.765

0.799

48.9

17.47

16.58

51.3

Brodin

1122:42:00

0.606

0.534

53.1

15.27

16.39

48.2

Scandella

851:51:00

0.728

0.47

60.8

17.21

16.32

51.3

Spurgeon

866:00:00

0.924

0.439

67.8

18.11

15.5

53.9

Stoner

503:19:00

0.556

0.596

48.3

16.13

17.56

47.9

Pominville

880:58:00

0.795

0.431

64.8

18.03

15.53

53.7

Prosser

457:27:00

0.7

0.481

59.3

16.26

17.49

48.2

Ballard

369:23:00

0.758

0.758

50

15.81

16.89

48.3

Zucker

117:53:00

0.339

0.679

33.3

15.44

20.02

43.5

Haula

268:16:00

0.82

0.298

73.3

14.99

16.4

47.7

Cooke

901:07:00

0.622

0.488

56

14.8

17.38

46

Koivu

836:17:00

0.741

0.598

55.4

18.92

14.54

56.5

McCormick

246:35:00

0.649

1.054

38.1

11.6

19.06

37.8

Blum

91:05:00

0

5:16:48

0

18.44

14.71

55.6

Parise

23:29

0.79

0.549

59

19.4

15.58

55.5

Moulson

17:52

0.759

0.659

53.5

16.85

19.18

46.8

Harding

992:11:00

0.706

0.423

62.5

17.44

15.62

52.7

Backstrom

601:13:00

0.599

0.732

45

16.73

17.17

49.4

Kuemper

890:25:00

0.561

0.607

48.1

15.63

17.41

47.3

Bryzgalov

1247:06:00

0.818

0.641

56

16.09

18.92

45.9

I want to note that the Wild's CF% is improved only slightly to 49.2%, but if you were to average out the CF20 and CA20, the Wild give up 1.93 less shots per 20 minutes, while improving 1.255 in the CF20 category. The Wild have been riding a high PDO of 106.07 in the games that Heatley was scratched compared to the PDO of rest of the season at 100.67.

Put in the fact that Heatley also starts just over 54 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone and is a -5.9 percent Corsi Rel 5v5. Dany Heatley has been very soft on the puck this season and his turnovers have killed any chance his line had to create offense.

So, has the removal of Heatley from the lineup been the reason the Wild have been better defensively and subsequently rattled off six wins against some of the top teams in the league down the stretch? the Wild seem like a faster team without him. Outside of Erik Haula, the team is able to get pucks deep into the zone and go to work - the exact kind of game that Mike Yeo wants to see. The five games that number 15 was scratched is an extremely small sample size, but the better defensive numbers, the improvement in possession of all his linemates without him, and the seemingly good puck luck has the Wild streaking into the playoffs on a high note.

Data pulled from ExtraSkater.com, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, SomekindOfNinja.com. and ESPN.com.

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