A sniper's fresh start

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 5, 2011 - 9:15 PM

Dany Heatley, odd as it might sound, is a natural goal scorer out to prove he can still score in bunches for his newest employer, the Wild.


Since he entered the NHL in 2001, new Wild acquisition Dany Heatley ranks 10th in shots (2,126) and third in goals (325).

Photo: Mark Humphrey, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Dany Heatley has asked off two teams and dodged a third, so the natural concern after the Wild executed Sunday's late-night Martin Havlat-for-Heatley swap was how the veteran sniper was coping with an unexpected trade that will take him from the San Jose sunshine to the Minnesota winter.

On Monday, Heatley perhaps calmed the nerves.

He sounded like a man motivated to resurrect his career and reputation, like a man hungry to score goals at a star's pace again and, maybe most important, like a man excited to be in Minnesota.

"I'm happy to be a Minnesota Wild," Heatley said. "I'm excited to play with those guys, in that room, to play in that city, in front of those fans. It's a great place to play hockey. I'm happy to be there."

The 30-year-old added: "Last year wasn't a great year for me personally. I want to get to that [top] level again in Minny. ... As a goal scorer and a player, you want to be that guy."

Heatley scored 26 goals and 64 points last season for the Sharks. That's not a down year for most, especially when you consider those numbers would have led the Wild.

But this is Dany Heatley -- a two-time 50-goal scorer, a point-a-game player, someone who possesses one of hockey's most toxic shots.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher is confident Heatley will fill the net.

"His track record speaks for itself," Fletcher said. "He's a proven goal scorer."

And the Wild is starved for goals. In his end-of-the-season analysis, Fletcher believed the Wild had too many pass-first players. So on Sunday, he asked one of them -- Havlat -- to waive his no-move clause.

"Our lack of goal scoring is well-documented. Our inability or our unwillingness to shoot the puck is well-documented," Fletcher said. "We wanted to change the mindset of our forward group."

Last season the Wild ranked 30th in shots on goal and 26th in goals. Since entering the NHL, Heatley's 2,126 shots rank 10th and his 325 goals rank third.

So Heatley's a "shooter," as is one of his best friends from the same Sharks team, Devin Setoguchi, whom Fletcher acquired June 24.

News travels to Finland

Captain Mikko Koivu, who surely will center Heatley, awoke in Turku, Finland, on Monday. He saw how many calls he'd missed and knew "something big had to happen."

"Then I saw we got Dany Heatley. I didn't see that coming at all," Koivu said. "Heatley, the numbers he's put up the last nine years, that can't be an accident. You really have to know how to score, and that was our problem."

Koivu added with a big laugh, "We know we're going to get some goals, but hopefully even more than we think."

Eventful past

Heatley does come to Minnesota with baggage.

In 2003, he was charged with vehicular homicide after his Thrashers teammate, Dan Snyder, died as a result of a car crash with Heatley at the wheel. Two years later, Heatley pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to three years' probation.

Heatley eventually asked for a change of scenery. Traded to Ottawa for Marian Hossa, Heatley played four years there, potting 180 goals and helping lead the Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. But in 2009, he'd had enough of coach Cory Clouston and asked to be traded again.

Heatley declined to waive his no-trade clause to go to Edmonton, putting Ottawa in a tough position. He was eventually dealt to San Jose in a one-sided trade.

Fletcher endorsed Heatley's character, though, calling him a "quality person." Heatley said much of his reputation is tainted by "being traded a few times in my career, and probably not the smoothest trades in history."

"He is misunderstood," Setoguchi said. "As a friend and not even a hockey player, he is one of the most genuine, honest people I've ever met in my entire life. Trust me, he's a good guy and his teammates love him."

Young Sharks star Logan Couture tweeted Monday that Heatley was a "great pro and tremendous teammate." Koivu was told the same thing by several of Heatley's former teammates Monday.

Sunday night, Heatley and Setoguchi already were talking about how cool it would be to play on the same line in Minnesota.

"We were joking, but obviously if there's one person on Minnesota that I would have the most chemistry with right now, it would probably be Dany Heatley," Setoguchi said.

Offensive potential for Wild

Wild coach Mike Yeo already has begun thinking about combinations. In training camp, he plans to experiment with a Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Koivu-Heatley line and a Setoguchi-Koivu-Heatley line.

"With any kind of coaching, these guys will be really good," Yeo joked. "I've said I want us to be tough to play against. You can do that in different ways. Obviously, that's defensively and physically, but I think we have guys who are threats offensively now.

"Let's face it, San Jose's been a very successful team the past few years and we got two key pieces from their team now. They've played the hard games, gone on the long runs and know what it takes to get there. I think that will push our group."

In fact, if you include recently acquired Philadelphia checker Darroll Powe, Fletcher has added three players with 154 career playoff games in the past 10 days.

Heatley admitted he was disappointed with a subpar three-goal postseason. Of course, he was playing despite a broken bone above the wrist and below the thumb -- a k a his trigger finger. But he vowed to come to Minnesota in "great shape" and "prove people wrong."

Remember, this was the first time Heatley was traded when he wasn't the one who initiated it. There's motivation now.

Setoguchi can't wait to get started with Heatley.

"Going into a new team, going into a new atmosphere, you're almost like stepping into foreign ground that you don't know," Setoguchi said. "So to step into it with a player that's so respected around the league and one of my best friends, it's going to make the transition a lot easier for both of us."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 89 4th Qtr 7:54
LA Lakers 70
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question