The Pacific division strikes again as the hockey world is shaken by yet another blockbuster trade between the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild, which sees Dany Heatley off to the Twin Cities in exchange for Martin Havlat.
The trade is even more significant, based on the fact that Heatley has a history of being very selective of where he plays, which brings me to explain why this trade could turn out to be a nightmare for the 30-year-old sniper.
First of all, most hockey fans are aware that Dany Heatley made it very clear two summers ago that he would only play in California or New York. He even demaded a trade from Ottawa only to refuse to waive his no-trade clause when they worked out a deal that would send him to the Edmonton Oilers.
Heatley has now been sent to another cold climate franchise which will be a very different scenario from the Bay Area. This time he has absolutely no choice. However, there is an even bigger reason why Minnesota may be a difficult place for not only Heatley, but also Devin Setoguchi, to call home.
The Wild, in their short history, have been most widely known for operating through the trap style defense. This style is among the most despised by hockey fans, due to the absolute removal of offensive excitement through its engagement.
Safe to say, the Minnesota Wild will probably take awhile to fully rid themselves of the ultra-defensive game.
As a player who is looking to rebound offensively or get on track in the scoring department, the worst thing that could possibly happen is to be traded to a team that could contend for the playoffs but still finish fifth-lowest in goals in the NHL.
Both Setoguchi and Heatley were seen as underperformers last season, and many will agree that they need some sort of "spark" to rejuvenate their scoring prowess'. One could suggest that sending these two to spend a week on Alcatraz might be enough to jolt them back on track, but apparently the Sharks had other plans for them and unfortunately, Minnesota is not a place where goals are plentiful.
This trade will be detrimental to both of these players' efforts to resharpen their shooting skills, as they will now be busy focusing on figuring out how to force offensive threats, such as themselves, to the outside in the neutral zone.On top of that, they have a serious captain in Mikko Koivu, who doesn't seem like the type of leader who will accept any less than a full effort from his teammates night in and night out.
The true winner in this trade is Martin Havlat. He will now be able to return to his high flying European style and be allowed to use his talent to its potential once again, as the Sharks are a team who like to score goals. He will most likely be thrilled to leave that dreadful system which is described by many as "the style that ruins hockey."
Devin Setoguchi still has time to redefine the type of player that he is and start fresh in St. Paul. Dany Heatley, on the other hand, will need to bring a more team-focused attitude to training camp in the Fall, or it could be a cold and miserable winter for him.