Dany Heatley's first season in Minnesota, after which coach Mike Yeo called the forward the Wild's most valuable player, qualified as a disappointment when measured against just about everything in Heatley's past. And that's the tricky thing about being him.
Heatley led the Wild in goals (24), points (53), power-play goals (eight) and shots (238). He was the only forward to play more than 60 games and finish with a positive plus-minus rating. Heatley played every game, shuttling between lines as Mikko Koivu and Devin Setoguchi missed time, and battled through injuries to log his most minutes since 2006-07, when he was a 27-year-old scoring 50 goals for Ottawa.
But when you have two 50-goal seasons and a pair of 40-goal seasons on your resume, as Heatley does, you're expected to match those numbers. And the Wild certainly thought Heatley would jump-start their offense when they traded Martin Havlat to San Jose for him last summer. Team officials believe the 31-year-old is still capable of 30-goal seasons, but no one is suggesting this was the ideal season to prove that.
Still, Heatley will have to live with those unmet expectations until next season.
"I would have liked to see the puck go in a lot more than it did," Heatley said. "We had some good times with Mikko. We developed some chemistry when we were playing together. But there were ups and downs, things I can improve on and things to work on for next year."
It's probably no coincidence that Heatley's
best seasons have come when he has played alongside a dynamic center. He had Jason Spezza in Ottawa and a group that included Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski in San Jose. In Heatley's six seasons with more than 35 goals, he has taken fewer than 250 shots only once. He's a sniper with one of the most feared wrist shots in the game, but that also means many of his goals will come with a center feeding him.
Dany Heatley dichotomy: Minnesota Wild MVP in a disappointing season
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Apr 13