Heatley ready to be go-to scorer in Minnesota

The Minnesota Wild have been searching for the kind of dynamic

goal scorer who can put the puck in the net in the blink of an eye,

a player who won’t hesitate to let a shot rip from anywhere in the

opposing goaltender’s zip code, ever since Marian Gaborik left in


Here comes Dany Heatley, who never met a shot on goal he didn’t

like, determined to show the rest of the league he can still light

the lamp with the best of them.

The Wild landed Heatley from San Jose on Sunday night, sending

forward Marty Havlat to the Sharks in a straight-up swap of two

30-year-old wingers. Heatley said Monday he was excited to be

coming to Minnesota and couldn’t wait to prove that last year’s

sub-par season was a fluke.

”As a goal scorer and a player, you want to be that guy,”

Heatley said.

Heatley had back-to-back 50-goal seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07

for the Ottawa Senators, but finished with only 26 goals last

season for the Sharks. Heatley played a month and a half with a

broken hand and said he had several other nagging injuries that

held him back.

”Last year wasn’t the greatest year for me personally, but I’m

looking forward to getting back there,” Heatley said.

After the Sharks flamed out in the playoffs yet again, San Jose

GM Doug Wilson was looking to switch things up. He found a willing

partner in Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, whose team has missed the

playoffs in both of his seasons as the team’s top executive.

Fletcher fired coach Todd Richards, replacing him with the

Houston Aeros’ Mike Yeo, and then sent All-Star defenseman Brent

Burns to the Sharks for a package that included 24-year-old goal

scorer Devin Setoguchi on draft night.

Fletcher said the biggest priority heading into the offseason

was injecting some juice into a team that finished 30th in the

league in shots on goal and had too many players who were better

suited to passing and setting up others than finishing the plays


Havlat seemed to be one of those players. He tied for the team

lead last season with 62 points, but only 22 of those came on


”Marty Havlat is one of the better offensive forwards in the

league,” Fletcher said. ”You look at this trade, it’s two pretty

good hockey players trading places. Some hockey players fit into

some teams better than others. I think we’ve seen a lot of that

over time.”

Fletcher brushed aside character questions about Heatley, who

asked to be traded out of previous stops in Atlanta and Ottawa.

Fletcher said the team did an extensive background check, as it

does with every acquisition.

”Dany’s a quality person and somebody who will fit well in our

room,” he said.

He’ll have a familiar face in Setoguchi. The two were close

buddies in San Jose, though it would seem likely that Heatley will

play with Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard on the Wild’s top

line, while Setoguchi will be the shooter on the second line to

balance the offense.

”Our lack of goal scoring is well documented. Our inability to

shoot the puck is well documented,” Fletcher said. ”We’ve

acquired two players who are able to complement the players on our

team real well.”

Heatley has three years and $19 million left on his contract,

while Havlat has four years and $20 million remaining on the deal

he signed with Minnesota two years ago.

”We have a lot of salary cap space,” Fletcher said. ”Dany has

a higher salary cap number than Marty does, but Marty has another

year on his contract. There certainly are no issues from that


Heatley has a history of struggling in the playoffs, but the

Wild would love to see him have a chance to redeem himself in that

area. The franchise has missed the postseason for three straight

years, making even one of the most supportive fan bases in hockey

start to get a little impatient.

”We’re there to get back in the playoffs, no question,”

Heatley said of Setoguchi and himself. ”Once you’re in the

playoffs, it’s a whole new season. They have a good team. They were

a good team last year, and I think they’re better team this


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