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Minnesota Wild: Dany Heatley looks to make an Impact

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Wild forward Dany Heatley is looking to make an impact this season and prove that he can still play hockey. Wild fans have to be happy with this revelation.

Dave Sandford

Good Afternoon Wilderness... Good times are here again. The NHL season is 18 days away. Yay! The Minnesota Wild are about to embark on the 2013-14 season, there's are a few questions that need to be answered. This afternoon, we're going to ponder the upcoming season and the expectations Wild fans have for forward Dany Heatley.

Moving forward, with the questions at hand, what version of Dany Heatley is going to show up for the Minnesota Wild this season? Will it be the version from last season, that looked slow and old, or will he be more like the player that scored (26g-38a-64pts) during the 2010-11 season, as a member of the San Joe Sharks.

Last season, Heatley missed the last 17 games of the season because of a season ending shoulder injury. Through 36 games last season, he underachieved, scoring an unimpressive (11g-10a-21pts).

Actually, Heatley would've been a prime candidate for an amnesty buyout, if he hadn't been on injured reserve at the end of last season. The new CBA doesn't allow the NHL teams to use an amnesty buy out on a player that is injured.

Fast forward to this season, according to Michael Russo, Heatley is looking to make an impact this season and prove that he can still play hockey. Wild fans have to be happy with this revelation.

Michael Russo, Russo's Rants -- In Friday's newspaper, I wrote a feature on an always very talkative Dany Heatley. I had lunch with him Wednesday, and as I've indicated, he is visibly leaner this season, looks quicker and spent a lot of the summer training to not only rehab his shoulder, but to come in tip-top shape and work on his skating with a power-skating instructor.

He is motivated to prove to everybody he can still be Dany Heatley, the threatening goal scorer, as he enters the final year of his contract. Yeo said today that he looks like he's "gained a step," at least.

Over the course of his career, Dany Heatley has been a proven NHL scorer, putting up (360g-403a-763pts) in 787 NHL games. If you looking at points per game, he's scored .969 points per game over the course of his 11-year NHL career.

Now, if you look at Heatley's statistics over the last three seasons, his point totals have been nowhere near his impressive point totals when he skated with the Ottawa Senators. Let's not forget, Heatley is not a spring chicken either, he's 32 years old.

Let's take a look at Heatley's point's production over the last three seasons. From 2010-2013, he's scored (61g-72a-138pts) in 198 NHL games. For those that are mathematically challenged, like me, that's an average of .696 points per game. That's a pretty big drop off from his first eight-years in the league.

Checking out the site Capgeek, Heatley's contract has s a massive cap hit for the Minnesota Wild. Based on his play, the past three seasons, it's not hard to make the argument, that he's highly over paid, making $7.5 million dollars per season.

In conclusion, I've walked you through the former Badgers points production over the past 11 years. At his current pay, Wild fans are going to expect more from him. The question most of us want to ask; will Wild forward Dany Heatley be able to resemble the player that was contributing on the score sheet, at higher clip, than he has the last three seasons? Or is he too old and past his prime? We will soon find out.