Dany Heatley coming to the Wild is the only good sports news in town. The Vikings and Timberwolves are locked out, and the Twins are eight games out of first place. In trading away Martin Havlat for Heatley, the Wild are getting a bonafide star, but a flawed one.
Heatley brings the kind of scoring production the Wild have been missing since Marian Gaborik left. But for the deal to pay off, the Wild need Heatley's playoff scoring to match what he does in the regular season.
The deal was the second between the two teams in a matter of weeks. Both times, the Wild looked to upgrade their anemic attack. First, during the NHL draft, the Wild traded All-Star defenseman Brent Burns for Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi in a skill-for-speed switch.
Along with Setoguchi, a pure scorer like Heatley will be a welcome addition for the Wild, who finished 26th in the NHL in team scoring last season.
"We are excited," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher told the Associated Press. "He is a quality player who has averaged more than a point a game in his nine-year career."
While that point-plus-per game sounds good, Heatley hasn't kept it up when it counted most: In 32 playoff games with the Sharks, he scored only five goals. That drop-off looks ominous for the Wild, who haven't made it out of the first round of the playoffs since 2003.
Among others, San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Tim Kawakami seemed happy to see Heatley's exit. By Kawakami's count, the Sharks had 146 power plays in the last two years of playoff games, and Heatley scored only once.
"Heatley sure looked slower and slower with each playoff game," Kawakami wrote, ending his indictment of the mercurial forward, "Will [the Sharks] be better without [Heatley]? The Sharks weren't any better with him for two years, actually, so that answers itself."
Ouch. Maybe this isn't such a great move after all. If there's a lone bright spot, it's how Heatley approved the deal. A contact clause allowed the German-born, Canadian-raised winger to name 10 teams that he wouldn't be traded to. Apparently, the Wild weren't on that list.
So there you have it, Wild. You're one of Dany Heatley's 20 favorite NHL teams.