The Minnesota Wild are heading into the 2013-14 season with high hopes. Coming off of a season in which they added marquee talent, both in the previous summer and at the trade deadline, and got a bit of playoff experience, they’re hoping to prove themselves as legitimate threats in the Western Conference.
In addition to the players that they have acquired in the past year and a half, they’ll also be coming back this year completely healthy. That includes the likes of Dany Heatley, who was a buyout candidate for the Wild, but his uncertain health status prevented such a situation from actually taking place.
Meaning that Heatley will be back with the Wild for at least one more season, as he plays out the final year on his contract that will carry a cap hit of $7.5 million. There’s no doubt that he’s a notable name, but as Heatley heads into his final season of that contract, could he be playing for not just his future with the Wild, but his career in general?
We don’t know if the Wild have any intention of bringing Heatley back beyond this year. His brief time in Minnesota has been marked by disappointment, both due to a lack of consistent production and due to a lack of health, particularly in 2013. He’s looking to prove this year that he can still be an impact player, as he has been throughout his career.
Heatley has been dynamite throughout his career at this level. He’s notched 763 points in 787 career games. While his production has tailed off a bit in recent years, one has to acknowledge his age as a primary reason for that. As he heads into the final year of that contract, though, it’s pretty clear that he is playing for a future in this league.
Another poor season means that Heatley could join the ranks of the folks more likely to get a training camp invite, rather than a concrete contract. In that sense, he really is playing for something more than just that next contract with the Minnesota Wild. However, the idea that he’s playing for his career might be a little far-fetched at this point.