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Fletcher and Heatley React to Sunday's Trade

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and newly-acquired winger Dany Heatley spoke to the media on conference calls Monday morning. Excerpts from their conversations about the latest trade with San Jose follow:

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher:

Why make the trade?
"For us to compete and do a better job next year we felt we needed to score more goals. Certainly this trade, acquiring certainly one of the better goal scorers in the NHL today in Dany Heatley, on the heels of acquiring Devin Setoguchi at the draft, we feel we've added some goal scorers, some players that shoot the puck, and hopefully will mesh well with some of the other players that we have on our roster."

You've talked about the youth movement, but you couldn't pass up the chance to get a premier goal scorer?
"We didn't trade any draft picks or young players to acquire Dany. We traded a 30-year-old skilled offensive winger for a 30-year-old skilled offensive winger. So, whether we made a trade or not we would've had a 30-year-old skilled offensive winger on our team. To me, it doesn't deviate at all [from the youth movement]."

How will Heatley fit in on the ice?
"We have a couple of the better passers in the game in Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and at this point, we don't have a lot of elite shooters. I think both Dany and Devin shoot the puck very well and hopefully we'll get Guillaume Latendresse back and healthy and motivated to have a big season and we have the emerging Cal Clutterbuck, who's not afraid to shoot the puck. How the lines work out will be up to the coaching staff, but clearly, we feel we have two of the better playmaking forwards in the game in Koivu and Bouchard and how everything meshes out will obviously be determined by the coaches and how the players mesh or don't mesh with each other.

Heatley's fit in the locker room - did you do a character check?
"Absolutely; I think I've done a lot of background before we make any trade and Dany's a quality person and somebody we think will fit well in our room...I think he's a quality person that's played on good hockey teams and had a lot of success, both from a team standpoint and an individual standpoint over his career."

Surprised you were able to make two big trades like this, or was this the plan this summer?
"Our plan was to aggressively add as many young assets as we could and to find a way to improve the offensive capabilities of our club going into next season. We've put a lot of time and effort into this; we've spent the last three months working very hard on lots of different things, from finding a head coach to looking at our entire and development system, to preparing for the draft, to speaking to many teams and many agents about many scenarios. We're happy with the moves we've made and we've given up some quality assets to acquire what we have, but we feel we're a better organization both short-term and long-term today than where we were prior to this offseason."

Wild Winger Dany Heatley:

"I want to say I'm happy to be a Minnesota Wild. I'm excited to play with those guys and be in that room, to play in that city in front of those fans, it's a great place to play hockey and I'm happy to be there."

What makes you most excited to come to Minnesota in this trade?
"I think everything. I think anytime you get traded it's a fresh start. I think we've talked about the city, it's a great city to play hockey in, great fans, obviously great organization. I'm excited to play with a lot of those guys in that room and excited to get going."

Do you look forward to being on a team where you're looked to as the main goal scorer?

"I do. I think as a goal scorer and a player,you want to be that guy. I'm excited to be in Minny; I've got a lot of ties to Minny. I obviously went to school in Madison and have a lot of friends in Minny. I'm excited to be that guy, for sure."

How quickly did you call Setoguchi after hearing about the trade?
"He was my first call after [being told about the trade.] He might've called me first. Sad to see him go last week and happy to be back with him now."

Do you see a possibility in playing next to Koivu and Bouchard?
"I'm going to go wherever they put me but I think Mikko's one of the top centermen in the game today. He's had some great years the last few years and I'm excited to get a chance to play with him. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is a great player. Obviously, he had some injury trouble last year but a really, really good player and if that was the case I'd be happy."

Why was Minnesota left off your list of teams you didn't want to be traded to?
"Obviously, it's a great organization, great fans. As a player, that's all you can ask for. To play in front of a packed building every night and have fans that love the team. I'm excited about that."
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