Reading through an article from the Edmonton Sun this morning, the talks about Dany Heatley are, ahem, heating up. The Wild are reported to be in the thick of those talks, with Cal Clutterbuck, Tyler Cuma, and James Sheppard being thrown around as possible trade bait.
First off, let me say this: Deal. All three for Heatley. Anyone who says otherwise is drunk on misplaced loyalty.
Heatley would remove the Gaboik question permanently. He is a perrenial 50+ goal scorer, has proven to be durable, and he is 28, just coming into his prime. His production has gone down, rather than up as the years have passed, but so have the Senators, so it is to be expected. To get Heatley on this team would be the coup of the off-season. It would be a move that Chuck Fletcher could boast about and use to show that he was serious about making changes around here.
Now, let me take a moment to address my fellow Wild fans. Some of you out there have a seriously bad case of the loyalty bug. Don't get me wrong, loyalty is an honorable and admirable quality to have. I am loyal to a fault most of the time. I also hate seeing fan favorites get sent packing. I about lost my mind when "he who shall no longer be mentioned" failed to re-sign Andrew Brunette. I also watched as "he who shall no longer be mentioned" failed to re-sign Brian Rolston.
Both failures broke my hockey heart.
This is different. If the Ottawa Senators are willing to trade a super-star caliber player for the NHL's hit leader, a prospect defenseman, and a center who has shown only that he cannot play center, I say deal.
Not the case with my fellow fans. I know that Ms. Conduct would be sore pressed to hide her broken heart if C-Buck were to traded to the Sens. All I can say is that I would be here, 100% to console her and help her to get through until Heatley started lighting that lamp at the X. You see, Ms. C is the creator of the "You Can't Spell Calder Without Cal" campaign, and is truly Cal's biggest fan. For her, I can understand completely why she would not want to see C-Buck leave.
For the rest of you: get off the soap box, find a chair, sit down, find yourself a adult beverage of your choice, and just relax for a minute.
Clutterbuck is my favorite player in an iron range red sweater. He brings an energy and a passion for the game that the Wild sorely lacked for the entire history of the organization. He hits everything that moves, and hits them hard. He showed a bit of offense, and added that mental and physical toughness that every team needs.
Want to know what he did not do? Score 39 goals and have 33 assists last season. Want to know what no one on the Minnesota Wild did last season? Score 39 goals.
The Wild need a finisher. Heatley is a finisher. The Wild need a scorer, he is a scorer. The Wild need a finisher and scorer that is durable. Heatley is a finisher and scorer that is durable. He is big, fast, and better than nearly every player on the current Wild roster put together.
If it is not clear yet, I have been reading several different sites, and have heard from several different outside sources about the discussion Wild fans are having about the potential of trading Clutterbuck for Heatley. The overwhelming voice seems to be that if Fletcher were to trade Clutterbuck for Heatley, that it would be a mistake. If Fletcher can trade Clutterbuck for Heatley, Fletcher is a god.
Here in-lies everything I have noticed about my fellow Wild fan since I jumped head first into the shallow pool that is the Wild blogosphere. The team should never get rid of any player on the current roster, should draft only Minnesota born and raised players, but at the same time should somehow have drafted Crosby and Ovechkin, and the GM should trade for a scorer, but should not give up players or draft picks to do so.
I hate to be the one to say it, but most teams are not willing to trade Heatley caliber players for the head of ticket sales. The GM needs to give up fan favorites from time to time and needs to draft players from outside the state. The GM needs be willing to entertain any and all offers for every player on the roster an in the organization. If the GM is not willing to do so, you go back to the "he who shall no longer be mentioned" era.
To sum it up: Wild fans need to relax a bit, let the brand new GM do his job, and if he decides that Clutterbuck is the piece to be traded to make the team better, than that is what needs to be done. If the trade blows up in his face, then we, as a group, will surely let him know about it. But he is going to make that decision, and he is going to make many more decisions that the lot of Wild fans won't like.
I am not about to tell anyone that they should not voice their opinion. It is your right to do so. What I am asking for here is a simple deep breath. Allow the guy to make some moves, to make some changes. If they turn out to be wrong, so be it. We can pick it up at that point. To attack a no brainer move such as Clutterbuck for Heatley just makes us look collectively silly.
PS- In my last post, I mentioned peanut butter sandwiches. The comment section lit up with a short, but fun debate about the best brand of peanut butter. It turns out Jif is the preferred brand here at the Wilderness. I mentioned Skippy. Turns out there is a jar of Jif in my own cupboard. So case closed, Jif it is.