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.
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.