Posted October 02, 2013 on
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(Eds: With AP Photos.) By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer Dany Heatley's days as a 50-goal scorer are probably gone. The lanky right wing still has a significant presence with the Minnesota Wild.
The 32-year-old Heatley hasn't produced with the Wild nearly the way he once did for Atlanta, Ottawa and San Jose, but his value was never more obvious than last April after he got hurt. The Wild went 5-6-1 in their last 12 regular season games without him, barely making the playoffs, before losing four of five to Chicago in the first round.
Over those 17 games, the Wild scored only five power-play goals in 42 opportunities.
''We really missed him,'' left wing Zach Parise said. ''He's one of the better ones in the league who can score from five or six feet out. So he looks good. He's moving well out there, and I think that he's going to play a big role on our team.''
Heatley needed surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder after a collision with a Sharks defenseman on April 3. But the bright side to the injury that kept him out of those crucial games and the Wild's first playoff appearance in five years was that Heatley got a head start on his offseason conditioning. He came back a little leaner and more determined than ever to become a 30-goal scorer again.
''I was in the gym a lot more. I feel pretty fresh coming into this camp,'' he said.
Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville are the skill players on the first line, but Heatley's absence and the relentlessness of the Blackhawks reminded the Wild how important forward depth is for a playoff run.
''I'd like to be able to put myself in better position to score goals. I look at our forwards, and we have a lot of talent and a lot of skill,'' Heatley said. ''I think we have more depth than last year, depending on which of our young guys stick around. But I'm excited. We're solid on the back end, and we've got a lot of great players up front.''
Heatley will likely find himself on the second line with center Charlie Coyle, who's coming off a decent rookie season. Heatley is in the final year of his contract, making $7.5 million.
''I'm very confident that he's going to have a really good season for us,'' coach Mike Yeo said. ''First off, he's better supported with the depth that we have in the lineup, with the skill that we have in the lineup. Skilled players need to play with skilled players to be at their best, and he's one of those guys.''
Heatley once had consecutive 50-goal marks for the Senators, and he has scored 39 goals or more six times in his career. The last of those came in 2009-10 with the Sharks. He still has that 6-foot-4 frame, though, to run interference around the net and get those tip-ins and rebounds to supplement the snipers on the perimeter.
''With a big body like Dany's, especially the closer you get to the net, and his touch along there, he can score a lot of goals like he showed in the past,'' Koivu said. ''We sure missed him last year at the end so of course he's a big help for us when he's healthy.''
Heatley isn't the only player the Wild are counting on for a bounce back. Third line center Kyle Brodziak is another one, after scoring only eight goals in 48 games and registering a team-worst minus-18 rating last season. He was sick with pneumonia early on and never fully recovered his energy and stamina.
''I feel like there is a level to my game not everybody has seen yet,'' Brodziak said. ''I know I'm going to get there and hopefully, when I get the opportunity to do whatever role is open, I'm going to make the best of it.''
BEST OF MAXIM
ST. PAUL, Minn. One point Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo made clear in the preseason was his opening night roster wasn't going to be a permanent, set-in-stone final look at how the team will shape up this season.
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Ever buy something you highly anticipated and had to wait to use it?
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The Minnesota Wild have signed forward Jason Pominville to a five-year contract extension.
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I hear the Pominville camp is looking for a long-term deal north of $5 million per – something the Wild has been trying to crack down especially since the team wants to make certain in a few years it can afford to...
Zach Parise doesn’t take solace in the fact that he helped the Wild make the playoffs for the first time in five years last season. Parise doesn’t buy into the notion that simply making the playoffs equates a successful season.
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SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed forward Jason Pominville to a five-year contract extension, through the 2018-19 season.
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As the Wild prepare for their season and home opener against the Kings on Saturday, goaltender Josh Harding prepares for his first full season of NHL hockey since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last October.
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Heading into his first full season with the Minnesota Wild Jason Pominville is just starting to feel comfortable in the State of Hockey.
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Despite finishing short of their aspirations last season, the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild added little to their respective rosters.
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The Minnesota Wild have signed Jason Pominville to a five year, $28M contract. After the Sabres drafted in in the second round (55th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Pominville made his debut in the 2003-2004 season, and then after the 2004-2005 lockout spent most of the last eight seasons with the Sabres. Pominville is a 30-year-old American right [...]
Last season, the Minnesota Wild limped into the post-season. With all the excitement of actually finally making the playoffs again last season, itâs hard to remember the mood that existed in the last month of the regular season last year.
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Wild and forward Jason Pominville have reached a deal to extend his contract five more years. The team announced Thursday morning that the deal was worth $28 million, which will be a cap hit of $5.6 million a year, according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The two parties have […]
A year ago, NHL fans across the world were annoyed and despondent. Some, like myself threatened and followed through to boycott part of the season if the league and NHLPA did not settle its issues. For some people, this meant losing their jobs as millionaires fought against billionaires, all sqabbling over who should get the lion's share of the fans' money. Now, the...
Wild Fans, Itâs Time to Drop The Puckâ¦â¦â¦.
Those words will usher in a new season for the Minnesota Wild tonight as the Wild play host to the L.A. Kings.
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Last season, the Wild won the season series 2-1-0, again to my great surprise given how physically gifted and talented...
Change is the theme around the UND locker room this year.
#hockey UND Hockey: A Season of Change http://t.co/X2hf6MQbg2
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) October 3, 2013
The Minnesota Wild have resigned Jason Pominville to a nice contract.
Jason Pominville signs 5-year extension with the Minnesota Wild http://t.co/GU1rctfwM4
— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes...