Just because the Minnesota Wild experienced some success this season, making the playoffs as the no. 8 seed in the Western Conference, doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be experiencing some changes during the summer. One of the more significant changes could come by the way of subtraction.
The Wild have a pretty decent chunk of large contracts now, having signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer before acquiring Jason Pominville at the trade deadline. Which means that they could be looking to cut one of those contracts loose. And the prime candidate is Dany Heatley.
Heatley missed the last month of the regular season, as well as the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with a dislocated shoulder that required surgery. Even before he went down with the injury, though, it’s not as if he was producing much. In fact, he had seen a decreased role as the season wore on.
In 36 games during the regular season, Heatley had 21 points, not really what you’d want from a guy carrying an absurd $7.5 million cap hit. While he’s a decent source of secondary offense, you don’t pay a guy that much to provide that little on the stat sheet. Which could lead to his exit.
Heatley has one year remaining on his contract with that cap hit. The Wild have two compliance buyouts at their disposal as a result of the new CBA. If they’re going to use one of them, Heatley seems like a prime candidate to be hit with one. The Wild could use that freed up cash to upgrade their roster in other areas, while managing to pick up someone to provide secondary scoring, at a lower price.
It’s no guarantee that the Wild will use a buyout on Dany Heatley. Would it be the right move? Probably. But the front office could decide to let his contract run out and hope that he can return to form and help out their offense, which did struggle at times this season. Aside from their goaltending, this will be a situation to watch for the Wild this summer.