Happy Fourth, all. This is going to be quick, because my son has dryland hockey, and it's already 83 outside. The longer I type, the hotter it's going to get out there.
The Minnesota Wild pulled off a stunner Sunday night, trading forward Martin Havlat to the San Jose Sharks for forward Dany Heatley.
Havlat waived a no-trade clause to make the deal happen, while Heatley had concocted a list of ten teams he didn't want to be traded to by July 1, and was traded to a team not on his list.
(I'll bet Ottawa and Edmonton were on that list. Just a guess.)
The former Wisconsin Badger -- he had two ridiculous seasons there -- has played a starring role in the NHL, posting at least a point per game in five seasons. He's been over 100 points twice, had two 50-goal seasons. He's also topped 40 goals in two other seasons, and hit 39 goals twice. Heatley's knock is his playoff performances, which weren't good in San Jose, but he's far from the only Shark who has been knocked for failing in the playoffs. Not only that, but Heatley was a beast with Ottawa in the 2007 playoffs, scoring seven goals and 22 points in 20 games.
Havlat never really fit in with the Wild. He had a terrible start to his first season, and only a second-half flourish kept him from posting embarrassing numbers for such a highly-paid player. He had 62 points last year for the Wild, but was a minus-29 over two seasons, and he just didn't make the impact that his signing brought expectations of.
With Heatley, and the already-acquired Devin Setoguchi, the Wild have found a pair of players who might be able to ignite an offense that's been stagnant for years. According to Russo, the two were close in San Jose, and they were looking forward to skating on the same line.
Looking at the depth chart, I'd be surprised if that happened with Minnesota, but they certainly could play together on the power play, and if the Wild can find a second-line winger who can put the puck in the net (Casey Wellman might not be ready, but it sure would be nice if he can step into this role), it opens up the chance for the two former Sharks to be on opposite wings from Mikko Koivu.
Anyway, I have a kid dying to go roast while shooting street hockey balls into the four-by-six opening. Maybe he'll be inspired by Heatley's play with the Wild, who haven't had a scorer this talented since you-know-who.
Have a good holiday.