In the National Hockey League, forming a scoring line with chemistry can be harder than memorizing the periodic table. But with GM Chuck Fletcher’s offseason alchemy, the Wild hope to create an abundance of a much needed element: Goals.
For the first weekend of Wild Training Camp and likely well beyond, Head Coach Mike Yeo is mixing newcomers Dany Heatley
and Devin Setoguchi
with captain Mikko Koivu
, and the potential for scoring is rousing for Wild fans.
“I think you can tell right away,” Heatley said about chemistry the between his new linemates. “We’ve been skating together the previous week. We’re starting to get reads on each other."
Fletcher thinks the forward lines will continue to gel with time.
"Over course of the next three weeks the players will get more comfortable with the system and where they need to be on the ice and start to be able to read off each other."
Heatley and Setoguchi were acquired through a set of high profile summer trades with San Jose. Paired with Koivu, on paper, the Wild’s top line has all the components of an explosive offensive unit. Koivu led the team in assists last season, Heatley has more than 300 career goals and Setoguchi has posted 20-goal seasons in three of his first four years in the league.
Heatley scored the only goal on the weekend on a penalty shot Sunday, but the Wild's first unit thrilled the 4,000 plus weekend fans in attendance with several scoring chances on oh-so-close opportunities.
Heatley is looking forward to playing on a line where oh-so-close turn into goals.
“The center usually dictates everything,” Heatley said. “(Koivu) likes to give-and-go a lot, support the puck very close, and me and Seto (Setoguchi) have to read off that. Create space for him and create space for us.”
After watching the line skate together, you don’t have to know the atomic number of zirconium to understand the trio has something brewing that goes beyond the stat sheet. But let's not get carried away, there are still a lot of work to be done.
As Heatley pointed out they are still "learning the new system and new forecheck and seeing how we can use our chemistry within that system.”