Since the departure of Marian Gaborik, the Wild have lacked a premier goal scorer on their squad. But on July 3rd, they solved that issue when they acquired F Dany Heatley from San Jose in exchange for F Martin Havlat. This coming just 10 days after the Wild acquired Heatley's teammate, Devin Setoguchi, from San Jose as well.
We all remember Heatley from his two seasons (1999-2001) in Madison, playing for the Badgers. There, he put up 52 goals in 77 games, before departing for the NHL (Atlanta Thrashers). And since his arrival in the NHL, he has been one of the best in the business, scoring 325 goals while adding 364 assists in his 669 career games. He possesses outstanding speed and a magnificent shot when he hits the ice. For proof of these skills, watch the following videos.
Heatley has also rarely been seen on the injured list, while just missing a handful of games in his 9 NHL seasons. The only exception to that was the tragic car accident he was in in September of 2003. He suffered a broken jaw, bruised lung, and torn knee ligaments. But Heatley returned to the lineup in January of the same season.
When Heatley was traded from Atlanta to Ottawa, the winger's career took off. His first two seasons with the Sens, Dany notched back to back 50 goals and 100 point seasons, while helping the Sens become a dominant force in the NHL (Ottawa made it to the Cup Finals in 06-07). And even when he was traded to San Jose, Heatley continued to average just under 40 goals per season.
Heatley also carries a 15-42-57 scoring line in his 68 career playoff games. His past playoff experience will be another valuable asset to the Wild going forward.
But last season, we saw Heatley have a down season. His numbers (26-38-64), were the lowest since his rookie season of 01-02. So that played a huge role in the fact the Wild traded for him and only gave up Havlat in return. But, as we found out, Heatley played most of last year while battling some nagging injuries. So, if he can be at 100% going forward, the Wild were the winners in this deal with San Jose.
The Wild finally got their goal scorer. And maybe now with a fresh start, Dany Heatley can go back and start terrorizing the rest of the league like he once did. He makes the Wild a great force to be reckoned with, when he steps on the ice. And I look forward to watching him for the next three seasons.
My final post in the New Face in the State of Hockey series, for this summer, will be on new head coach Mike Yeo. My previous posts had included: Darroll Powe, Mike Lundin, and Devin Setoguchi.