Dany Heatley used to be one of the most feared snipers in the NHL. Four straight years of sinking goal totals and severe lack of chemistry with the Minnesota Wild seem to have put the 32 year-old veteran at a cross road. It’s clear that he doesn’t have a future in the State of Hockey. Barring some kind of remarkable turnaround, the franchise has no room for him at this point.
If he could click on the second line and be a strong scoring threat alongside a center like Charlie Coyle, then maybe Minnesota could make it work, but Heatley has given the team zero reason to re-sign him and keep him around.
So where does that leave the former 50-goal scorer after his contract is over this year?
The first thing he’ll have to do is take a massive pay cut. Hopefully Heatley has been paying attention to his declining production over the last four seasons and has been saving, because he’ll be lucky to make a third of the $7.5 million that he has over the last six years. It may be time to swap in the Lamborghinis for Altimas and take a short, low-paying “prove it” deal.
A low salary opens up some interesting options for Heatley though. If he had been a free agent last summer, could a team like the Nashville Predators or Pheonix Coyotes tried to add him for a bit of an offensive boost? While it’s been quite a long time since Heatley as scored 50 goals, it’s only been two since he’s scored 20. What could he do on a line besides, say, John Tavares in New York?
20-goal players don’t grow on trees. After the first tier of free agents is off the market, keep an eye on Heatley. He could be a sneaky add for an under-the-radar club this summer.