The Minnesota Wild had an opportunity to buy out forward Dany Heatley this summer, but with his uncertain health, they were not able to pull the trigger on such a move. Instead, they’ll count on him rebounding heading into the 2013-14 season. But can he do it?
Heatley had a rough 2013 season in multiple ways. The buyout talk overshadowed his performance all season after they were made available to teams following the lockout. He ended up only playing in 36 games, while posting just 21 points, logging plenty of minutes in the bottom six.
That was all before his season ended because of a shoulder injury. He didn’t appear in another game after April 3rd, as surgery forced him to miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs, capping off the already disappointing season.
Rather than buy him out, the Wild hung onto Heatley this summer, despite being in a pretty tight spot financially, thanks to the high priced additions they’ve made over the past couple of years. If Heatley can rebound, though, he’ll be worth it for the Wild.
While he’s not going to hit the century mark again any time soon, Heatley is still capable of putting up 50 or 60 points regularly. If he can chip in 25-30 goals and add another 25 or so assists, he’ll be an asset to a Wild club that can use all of the offense they can get.
Heatley will likely start the year on the second line, next to second year forward Mikael Granlund. Part of Heatley’s 2013-14 success could ride on Granlund. If he can take the next step forward, he has elite potential as a playmaker, and could lead to a boatload of goals for the veteran.
It’ll be interesting to see how things work out for Dany Heatley in 2013-14. He’s playing for his next contract, so there’s little doubt he’ll be motivated. If Granlund fares well next to him, and he’s healthy, Heatley should be in for a fine season in 2013-2014.