Martin Havlat waived his no-trade clause with the Minnesota Wild and has been traded to the San Jose Sharks for Dany Heatley. Each team was relatively quiet in the first few days of free agency, but this trade makes about as much noise as any signing either team could have made.
“Marty is a player that we have had an interest in for a long time," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said. “He can play either wing and brings creativity and breakaway speed to our group of top-six forwards."
It is the second monster trade between the two teams in as many weeks. You might remember at the draft the Sharks acquired Brent Burns and a second-round pick from Minnesota in exchange for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and the Sharks' first-round selection, which the Wild used to take center Zack Phillips.
"We are excited to add Dany Heatley, one of the top goal scorers in the NHL," Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said. "He is a quality player who's averaged more than a point a game in his nine-year career.”
In Havlat the Sharks get Minnesota's co-leading scorer from last season as he tallied 22 goals with 40 assists with the Wild. Heatley heads to Minnesota having scored 26 goals for the Sharks last season with 38 assists.
Both players are aged 30, had very similar numbers and both are top-six forwards. So what's the point?
For San Jose it saves $2.5 million in salary cap space, giving the Sharks some flexibility to make an additional move or two if they want/need to. Oh, and there was this part of it from Wilson: There was a window built into Heatley's contract that allowed the trade to happen. The window just opened. So more or less, the Sharks traded him as soon as they could, reading between the lines. Heatley hasn't exactly earned a great reputation over the years having asked out of his two previous stops in Atlanta and Ottawa.
“We truly appreciate everything that Dany brought to our organization. He is a tremendous professional," Wilson said.
Meanwhile, Minnesota doesn't have an issue with cap space and it gets a player who is a bit more of a natural scorer (he has reached the 50-goal mark a couple of times) as it continues to retool a team that has sagged offensively since Marian Gaborik for New York. Plus he brings a familiarity with Setoguchi as the two figure to get ice time together.
Havlat and Heatley played together in 2005-06 with the Ottawa Senators.
By Brian Stubits