The pace of the NHL offseason had slowed down considerably after the chaos of the first day. However, after days of relative inactivity on the NHL front, the Ducks finally made another move, signing veteran winger Dany Heatley to a one year, $1 million deal.
Though his production has dipped slightly each of the past few seasons (if you stretch the lockout season over 82 games), Heatley still has the ability to be a quality winger on this team. The Ducks have been starved for top-six forward talent, with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry having to shoulder the majority of the responsibility for the team. While the team waits for players such as Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jakob Silfverberg, and others to take another step in their development, the Ducks took a low-risk option in Dany Heatley, who is a two-time 50 goal scorer, both with the Ottawa Senators. Although he played on the fourth line throughout the year in Minnesota, the Ducks know that Heatley is more than capable of being a fearsome top-six threat, facing him in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.
Just like every player, Heatley has his respective strengths and weaknesses. The 6’4 winger definitely has the size to create a monstrous line with Getzlaf and Perry, but he has never consistently used that size effectively to win one-on-one puck battles. Heatley also has terrific offensive instincts as a passer and possesses a fantastic shot, but skating is not necessarily one of his strengths.
If the development of the Ducks’ young wingers does not go as planned, the Ducks have picked up a relatively cheap stop-gap option who can also be another mentor to those players. Also, Heatley looks to be hungry for an opportunity, ready to prove himself in the short term to pick up a contract next season. If motivated, it is not impossible for the Ducks to coax a 20 goal season from Dany Heatley, at the very least. And if the Ducks’ wingers do develop? The team has a solid piece to sell at the deadline looking to add a veteran scoring presence.
The Ducks may be better off for making this move, or they may not be. We will not know what impact he will have for the club until the games start.
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