Forward Dany Heatley is arguably the biggest “name” left in the free-agent market, but it all ends with his name. His past accomplishments are plenty: multiple 50-goal seasons, All-Star Games, Olympic Gold and a run to the Stanley Cup Final dot the resume of the former Wisconsin Badger. Having said that, he hasn’t eclipsed 30 goals in four seasons and is only slightly faster than the average glacier these days, meaning whoever signs him will be getting Heatley cheap. Regardless of how cheap, the Los Angeles Kings need to avoid being that team.
For starters, Heatley needs to play on the team’s top two lines and with the Kings’ plethora of depth, there’s no way he’d crack the top six. His usefulness on the power play would also be nullified as Jeff Carter essentially plays the same role Heatley plays on the man-advantage better than Heatley. Having an aging forward with no speed goes against what the Kings have built and disrupts the team chemistry that has grown in recent years.
While a counterargument to this would be the Kings’ acquisition of Marian Gaborik and how well he has fit in with the team, the two are different. For one, Gaborik has never been the prima donna that Heatley has been in the past. Also, while Gaborik has had some inconsistencies in production in the past, these are due to injuries and not lackluster play.
Even if Heatley was willing to take the minimum and earn a spot in training camp, it still wouldn’t be worth it to the Kings. They need to avoid rocking the proverbial boat and continue building upon what they have. If all goes according to plan, that building process will take them to their third Stanley Cup in four seasons.