Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sharks and Wild hook up again: Heatley for Havlat

While the in$anity of a few GMs grabbed most of the attention on Fourth of July weekend, the Sharks and Wild were busy on the phones for the second time since the Draft- hooking up for another blockbuster. Unlike the first which involved San Jose addressing a need on the back end by acquiring Brent Burns for a package that featured Devin Setoguchi, this time they decided they'd seen enough of Dany Heatley, dealing the All-Star to Minnesota for Martin Havlat.

The surprising trade sent shockwaves throughout the blogosphere with many questioning why the Sharks did it. Even though I'm not the biggest Heatley fan, he is better than Havlat, who's been more injury prone. Perhaps Doug Wilson was looking at the lack of postseason production from one of his top guns with the 30 year-old former '00 second overall pick only notching five goals over 32 playoff games over two Springs with San Jose. In moving the two-time 50-goal scorer, Wilson dumped some salary with approximately $2.5 million coming off the cap. Over the next three seasons, Heatley's average cap hit is $7.5 M while Havlat, who had to agree to waive his no-trade clause, will earn $5 M over the final four years of his deal. Ironically, two points separated the scoring wings with Heatley tallying 64 (26-38-64) in a down season while Havlat responded from a disappointing first year in St. Paul with 62 (22-40-62), for his third highest mark.

"When players that we have targeted become available, you need to be able to react quickly and you also have to pay a price in order to acquire them," Shark GM Wilson told reporters. "When we made the Brent Burns trade, we knew we still needed to address our speed up front and we think the acquisition of Marty does that."
It remains to be seen if the change will work for both. While Havlat should be thrilled to be part of a talented Sharks' club that lost to Vancouver in the Conference Finals, Heatley goes to a team that's missed the playoffs the past three years. Amazingly, the original Thrasher is now on his fourth team with his trade request from the Senators and rejection of the Oilers still fresh. Many Ranger fans coveted Heatley. I wonder how they feel now. Now, he'll have to find chemistry with top pivot Mikko Koivu and lift a franchise out of mediocrity. Who would you rather have? Heatley or Marian Gaborik, who mystified Garden Faithful after a sparkling first year. Most would take Heater. A lot can change with Brad Richards anchoring Gabby. Like Dany's nostalgic 80's hit goal song in Kanata, The Heat Is On. At least he'll have familiar face Setoguchi with him to help adjust.

For Havlat, it'll be interesting to see how he meshes with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. He'll be quite familiar with Burns, who when healthy is one of the better blueliners in the game. On paper, it looks like the Wild won but no games have been played. One confusing question at least to this blogger is why the two trades. Why not just use Heatley to get Burns? The Sharks probably could've gotten a pick/prospect thrown in. Instead, they parted with top prospect Charlie Coyle and an '11 No.1 to get Burns while also subtracting the cohesive Setoguchi. Wouldn't it have made more sense the other way? Some things are better off unexplained.

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