The Minnesota Wild face some tough roster choices with the NHL salary cap shrinking for next season.
That factor, combined with the production addition of winger Jason Pominville, led many experts to believe the team will ditch winger Dany Heatley.
But general manager Chuck Fletcher noted how much the team missed Heatley after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury April 3.
“Dany Heatley, nobody talks about, but from the time he got hurt, our record wasn’t very good,” Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He’s a big body who can play against big teams. He gets to certain areas of the ice and he can be successful.”
On the other hand, Heatley is due to collect a whopping $7.5 million on the final year of contract. The team needs to allocate money elsewhere, especially with goaltender Niklas Backstrom headed to unrestricted free agency.
Backstrom can reasonably expect vigorous bidding for his services. To retain him, the Wild will have to pay top dollar.
Heatley’s effort last season had “buyout” stamped all over it. He produced just 21 points (14 at even strength) in 36 games last season and earned a minus-12 rating.