MARTIN HAVLAT TRADED FOR DANY HEATLEY
The Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks have made a second blockbuster trade in just over a week. The Wild send last year’s leading scorer Martin Havlat to the Sharks for former Wisconsin Badger star Dany Heatley. The trade was an old school one for one player swap, something rarely seen in these days of mega contracts. Havlat has four years left at $5 million per season, while Heatley will make $7.5 million for the next three years.
This trade is seen as much more of a shock than the Burns-Setoguchi trade during the first round of the NHL Entry Draft last weekend. The Wild needed to make a move one way or another on Brent Burns, and the Sharks needed an offensive defenseman. This trade seems to be more about team fits. With Minnesota getting younger, they needed someone who is a legitimate scorer to finish off the passes from skilled, but trigger shy teammates. Havlat seemed to be a good fit with some of the players, but would never end up being a first line player with how the Wild roster currently is constructed. According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, GM Chuck Fletcher had been talking to Havlat for the last month about possibly working around his no trade clause.
It appears that Martin Havlat finally decided to waive the no trade clause for a chance to go to a team in San Jose who is definitely a Stanley Cup contender, and wants to win it now. The reason this deal didn’t get done along with the first blockbuster trade was Dany Heatley’s contract. Heatley had to give the Sharks a list of ten teams to which he couldn’t be traded by July 1. Once the list of teams in the partial no trade clause were given, the team was able to move forward. Obviously Minnesota was not one of the bottom ten teams. For more news about the trade, check out the NHL.com coverage, or Michael Russo’s Wild coverage.
Dany Heatley has been a polarizing figure throughout his NHL career. He honed his craft in college, leading the Wisconsin Badgers in scoring before signing with the Atlanta Thrashers to start his NHL career. The former second overall pick of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Heatley’s career started off with great promise, and goal scoring. I remember going to see a Lightning-Thrashers game in Tampa one time on spring break. Heatley was mesmerizing to watch on the ice, and had the ability to bury the puck anytime. But the tragic accident that cost teammate Dan Snyder his life. Heatley was later traded to the Ottawa Senators to give him a fresh start away from the tragedy. Heatley flourished with the Senators, but differences between him and management arose, Heatley asked for a trade, and was eventually sent to the Sharks. Now Heatley has been traded again, giving the Minnesota Wild their best pure scorer since the days of Marian Gaborik. In fact, Heatley is a better scorer than Gaborik. Since entering the league in 2001, Heatley leads the NHL in total power play goals, total game winning goals, third in total goals scored, and fifth in total points scored.
Now, Minnesota’s top line could be a true threat each time it’s on the ice. Mikko Koivu centering Dany Heatley and either Pierre Marc Bouchard or Devin Setoguchi will give opponents something to think about. It instantly becomes the most talented line in Minnesota Wild history. Chuck Fletcher said he wasn’t going to focus on free agency to help build (NOT rebuild, his words) this team, and to this point he’s stuck to his words. But he is definitely working the phones and other GMs around the league. It might be almost 100 degrees outside, but it’s finally cool again to be a part of the State of Hockey.
Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms. He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long. Look for new articles throughout the week. He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy. If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .