The San Jose Sharks
continue to shake up a roster that was upended just one step short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final this past season.
Late Sunday night, San Jose GM Doug Wilson found a familiar trading partner in Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher to make the second blockbuster between the two teams in just nine days. This time, Wilson moved star forward Dany Heatley
to Minnesota in exchange for Martin Havlat
, another star forward.
For Wilson, it was the matter of filling another area in which he felt his team was lacking, the same philosophy that drove him to trade promising young forward Devin Setoguchi
to the Wild for All-Star defenseman Brent Burns
during last week's Entry Draft.
It has been a busy summer for Wilson, who has made two blockbuster trades and two free-agent signings -- Michal Handzus
and Jim Vandermeer
-- to address weaknesses he felt contributed to San Jose's downfall this past season.
His first need was to acquire a high-end, offensively skilled defender and he did that in the trade for Burns, but, in doing so, he eliminated some speed from his top-6 forward core by moving Setoguchi.
Sunday, he reintroduced that speed into the Shark lineup.
"This is a guy when you are looking at high-end speed breakaway players that like to play in big moments, Marty is at top of that list," Wilson said during a Sunday night conference call. "I'm very happy he was willing to waive his no-move (clause) to come to San Jose and when a player wants to come to your team, that's a credit to him and we appreciate that."
Havlat did have a no-movement clause in his most recent deal, but he said waiving it for the chance to go to San Jose was not a difficult decision.
"I was presented this deal today and I decided to waive the no-movement clause to go to the Sharks," Havlat said. "I'm very excited. It's a great team with great players with chance to win a lot of hockey games."
And, a team with the chance to go to the playoffs on a regular basis, something Havlat did not experience in Minnesota. He has been to the playoffs only once in the past five seasons and he has missed the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup something fierce.
"They are great team and they have great chance every year to battle for the Stanley Cup," Havlat said of his new club. "It's very important for me to have a chance to battle for the Cup, to just to get in the playoffs and you never know what happens.
"For hockey players, not just for me, if your season ends April 10 it's an empty feeling. When the real season starts, you are already sitting on your couch. I enjoy playing in playoffs and that is why I play hockey."
For Wilson, it is the ability to embrace the big games that makes Havlat a coveted player.
"He's a hockey player that wants to play in big situations and that is a thing that we think is an important part of his makeup," Wilson said.
Despite not being the playoffs often in the past few years, there is no denying the postseason pedigree of Czech forward. In his 26 most recent postseason contests, Havlat has 28 points. In 67 playoff games in his career, he has amassed 49 points.
This past season, the 30-year-old posted 62 points (22 goals, 40 assists) in 78 regular-season games, which tied for the team lead in Minnesota. He also tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (4) and led the team in shots (229).
But, to add that element, Wilson had to surrender a valuable asset in Heatley.
Heatley, also 30, played 162 out of a possible 164 games for the Sharks during the past two seasons, scoring 146 points, including 65 goals.
Heatley was acquired from Ottawa two seasons ago with the hope that he was the missing ingredient that could lift the perennial contending Sharks over the hump in the quest for the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
After scoring 39 goals during his first season, Heatley's total dropped to just 26 this past season. Even more telling, though, were Heatley's struggles this postseason. He had just 3 goals and 9 points in 18 postseason games. Plus, he was nearly invisible in the Western Conference Finals loss to Vancouver.
"I really appreciate Dany Heatley
's game and what he brought to this organization, but our team changed when we acquired Brent Burns
and had to give up Devin," Wilson said. "Marty comes in and replicates that speed and has playoff experience.
"(Dany's) a good man. I'll tell you what, he loves to play the game. He went and won a gold medal on the (Canadian) Olympic team in Vancouver representing the San Jose Sharks
. He worked his butt off. This is a guy that played with a broken hand for a month and a half and never said a word about it. I respect Dan Heatley tremendously. This is just a different need for our team. I appreciate and thank Dany Heatley
for everything he did four our hockey team."
Wilson was able to move Heatley despite the fact that Heatley's contract contained a no-trade clause. The deal, which Heatley negotiated with Ottawa, included a limited window in which Heatley could be traded, as long as it was not to any of the10 teams Heatley put on a no-trade list.
According to Wilson, that window opened recently and the Wild were not on that no-trade list.
"We are excited to add Dany Heatley
, one of the top goal scorers in the NHL, to our team," Fletcher said in a statement. "He is a quality player who has averaged more than a point a game in his nine-year career."
Heatley, who ranks first in the NHL in power-play goals (128) and game-winning goals (58), third in goals (325) and fifth in points (689) since he entered the League in 2001, gives Minnesota a game-changing offensive talent on the wing, an invaluable commodity for a team that annually struggles to score goals.