For the second time in 10 days, the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild have pulled off a blockbuster trade. Dany Heatley is heading to the State of Hockey in exchange for Martin Havlat. San Jose gets faster with this deal, but Minnesota acquires the dynamic goal-scorer they’ve lacked since Marian Gaborik was in town.
Minnesota has now taken Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, two prolific snipers when on top of their games, off of San Jose’s hands. Havlat never was a fit on the top line with Mikko Koivu, resulting in underachievement (40 goals in two seasons). Heatley, who has reached 40-plus goals four times in his career, will definitely be a boost to a team that ranked 26th in scoring in 2010-11.
GM Chuck Fletcher is not done for the Wild. After dealing Brent Burns to the Sharks at the draft and buying out Cam Barker, the Wild need to fill some holes defensively.
The Sharks are cutting ties with Heatley after a disappointing 26-goal campaign and underwhelming 9-point postseason. Havlat, when healthy, can be a perfect fit with the Sharks, making them a quicker team up front. He will have an opportunity to put up more points, too, as he will not be on a line with Kyle Brodziak at center.
GM Doug Wilson saves $2.5 million in cap space in this deal, possibly clearing room for more depth up front. With Michal Handzus now on board, Team Teal could use a winger to complement him on the third line.
Overall, the Sharks have taken a risk by making a pair of blockbusters with the Wild, trading away two snipers in Heatley and Setoguchi. Burns and Havlat are nice additions, but are also injury-prone. If they can stay healthy, Todd McLellan’s club will be flying up and down the ice. I don’t think many expected the Sharks to have this kind of shake-up after getting to the conference final in back-to-back years.
Minnesota, if they can improve the blue-line, has now become a threat to the Western Conference playoff picture. The offense has been upgraded with the acquisitions of Heatley and Setoguchi this off-season. Head coach Mike Yeo has some weapons to play with in his first season behind the bench.
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