If Dany Heatley goes to Minnesota, who’s his center?

August 17th, 2009 by Burgundy Leave a reply »

First of all, that’s a big if.  We don’t know if Dany Heatley will ever waive his No-Trade-Clause.  I thought the odds of Heatley waiving the NTC were comparable to Tiger Woods actually losing a golf championship when leading by 2 strokes entering Sunday’s final round.  Given Tiger’s collapse yesterday, is that a sign of things to come for Heatley?

That may be pushing it… but if you haven’t heard the rumors, some notable reports suggest the Minnesota Wild are very interested in Heatley and have even tabled an offer to Bryan Murray and the Ottawa Senators for the sniper.

Is Dany Heatley on his way to Minnesota?

Is Dany Heatley on his way to Minnesota?

Who’s reporting the rumor?  Senschirp.ca and SportsTalkBuzz.com, among others.  And they are pretty damn good, too.

There’s a few interesting things to this rumor.  Firstly, of all the teams ever rumored to have interest in Heatley, I believe this is the first one who could legitimately afford his contract without massive and sudden roster changes (or changes that don’t make sense!).  Secondly, this would make for a pretty good offensive combination with the newly acquired Martin Havlat, also an ex-Senator.  Thirdly, Brent Flahr was a part of the Senators upper management until earlier this summer – he is now an Assistant General Manager of the Wild.  Perhaps this rumor has wings afterall…

I may be getting ahead of myself here, but if Heatley did become a Wild … or became Wild …  or joined the Wild (wow that was difficult!), I’m assuming he would play left wing and Havlat would play right wing.  That’s a pretty leathal attack.  But who’d play center?  Havlat’s not the pure sniper Heatley is, but he’s also a legitimate 30-goal scorer.  Right now, Wild center’s include Mikko Koivu and James Sheppard (nevermind the fact they’ve both been mentioned in these trade rumors with Ottawa).  I don’t really think either are true NHL 1st line centers.

No disrespect intended, but looking at Koivu, his career point high is 67 points.  And James Sheppard, although only 21 with two NHL seasons under his belt had a career high of 24 points last year.  Granted, both were in defense-first Jacques Lemaire systems, but can either of these players truly be the piece that plays between Heatley and Havlat?

I’m not sure how that would work.  But maybe Havlat and Heatley would be playing on different lines?  Note to Wild head coach Todd Richards: Don’t put Heatley on the 2nd line. Apparently he doesn’t like that and could ask for a trade as a result.  On the other hand, Havlat may kick you with skates on …  Catch 22.  Or Catch 24.  Or Catch 15.  Wow, bad joke.

Beyond the fact the Wild don’t legitimately have a first line player for Heatley or Havlat, they don’t have a set-up guy for either.  Koivu had 47 assists last year… but to put things into perspective, Ottawa’s Filip Kuba had 37.  And the Minnesota Wild did have more goals for last season than the Senators did.

I’m not saying I don’t want the trade to happen – I do – I just want a resolution.  And the rumored pieces coming back to Ottawa are nice.  But I’m not sure how Minnesota makes Heatley fit with their club.  The weird thing about this one, unlike any other team ever interested in Heatley: it’s not a salary cap problem.

Stay classy, Minnesota Wild.

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5 comments

  1. Sens19 says:

    “Heatley did become a Wild … or became Wild … or joined the Wild (wow that was difficult!)” hahaha, niice :D

    The rumours from Minnesota were great but there are many reasons it won’t happen, primarily because Heatley will not waive to go there. Minny isn’t really the type of California place he’d like to go, they’re not the contenders he’d want and they’re sort of a hockey market (as small as it is, they love and care about hockey there) and lastly for the exact reason you just stated. He needs to play with a center that will always be ready to give him that perfect Spezza pass. And not only will Koivu not be the center Heater is used to, he will probably be a part of any deal that happens because you can count out Havlat and/or Burns coming back to Ottawa in any deal

  2. Burgundy says:

    Totally agree – Murray is doing the right thing by pushing for Burns or Havlat, but I can’t imagine Fletcher’s first big trade involving a star they just signed (to replace Gaborik leaving) or one of the best young defencemen in hockey.

    As far as Heatley waiving his no trade to go to Minnesota, who knows. Doubtful, probably.

  3. Sens19 says:

    True true, Fletcher trading away Burns/Havlat will be a worse PR move for him than Wilson stripping the C off Mr. Captain Marleau!!

  4. Burgundy says:

    Too soon, Sens19, too soon.

    I read an interview with McLellan who made it sound like it was his decision to strip Marleau of the C. As of now, there are no assistants either.

    Cool!

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