Playoff woes lead to Dany Heatley trade

Dany Heatley

HeatleyThe San Jose Sharks entered the 2009 playoffs as the Western Conference's No. 1 seed after winning the Presidents' Trophy given to the team with the NHL's best record. What followed was a stunning first round exit at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, another in a long line of postseason disappointments for the franchise.

Dany Heatley was acquired by the Sharks that offseason to help remedy the problem and lead the franchise to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance.

So how come after two seasons in which he ranked second on the team in goals scored (65) and points (146) -- ranking in the top 20 in the NHL in both categories -- does he find himself headed to the Minnesota Wild?

Heatley was a great producer for the Sharks in the regular season, but his production really took a hit come playoff time.

While the Sharks made consecutive conference finals appearances in his two years with the team -- San Jose made one conference final appearance in the teams first 17 seasons -- Heatley scored only five goals in 32 playoff games.

To give that some perspective, among players who played 20 postseason games over the last two seasons, Heatley was tied for the 47th-most goals scored. That's not something you would expect from a player who averaged more than 40 goals per season the past six years.

Heatley scored 14 game-winning goals in his two seasons in San Jose, including an NHL-best nine in his first season with the team. However it never carried over to the playoffs as he didn't score a single game winner in the postseason for the Sharks.

What the Wild do get is a player who can produce with the man advantage. Heatley scored 29 goal on the power play in his two years with the Sharks, third-most in the NHL. The Wild's top player in that span, Andrew Brunette, just signed with the Chicago Blackhawks when free agency opened this past Friday.

According to capgeek.com, Heatley will be the seventh-highest paid forward at $8 million this season. His cap hit of $7.5 million (average annual value of his contract) also ranks seventh among forwards for this upcoming season. He automatically becomes the Wild's highest paid player, topping Mikko Koivu's $6.75 million cap hit.

Dany Heatley vs Martin Havlat
Career in Postseason

The Sharks are taking a bit of a risk with this deal as Martin Havlat, the player they received for Heatley, has posted similar career postseason numbers. While Havlat -- who was a teammate with Heatley for one season with the Ottawa Senators in 2005-06 -- has scored more playoff goals, he has accounted for eight less points despite playing in one more playoff game.

However Havlat's last two postseason appearances were impressive as he notched 15 points in the Blackhawks' conference finals run in 2009 and scored seven goals in the 2006 postseason with the Senators.