When the Wild paid a combined $196 million to acquire the services of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on July 4, coach Mike Yeo suspected the team would be acquiring something else, too: a rejuvenated Dany Heatley.
The forward was one of two Wild players to dress for all 82 games in 2011-12, and he led the team in goals (24) and points (53). Still, his numbers were some of the lowest of his career, as he played with a knee injury and without center Mikko Koivu, who missed 29 games because of a shoulder injury.
Yeo called Heatley the team MVP after last season and predicted the forward's numbers would rebound on a line with Parise and Koivu. Two games into the Wild's season, it looks like the coach might have been right.
Heatley scored two power-play goals in the Wild's season-opening victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, Jan. 19, and assisted on Parise's first goal of the season in the Wild's 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars the next night.
Heatley bulked up in the offseason and has thrived in the Wild's new-look power play, where he's stationed in front of the net to create traffic and drive home rebounds more than he was asked to do in the past. The forward, who turned 32 Monday, looks like he could be in for a resurgent year.
Dany Heatley shines on ice with Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Jan 22