SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose and Minnesota made their second major deal of the off-season with the Sharks sending Dany Heatley to the Wild on Sunday for Martin Havlat.
The move comes on the heels of the draft-day trade that sent all-star defenceman Brent Burns to San Jose for speedy forward Devin Setoguchi and two other players.
The acquisition of Burns filled San Jose's need for a topflight defenceman but created a new need for speed up front after losing Setoguchi.
"He's got world-class speed," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "When we realize we gave up some speed in the Brent Burns deal, the need to get that in our top-six (forwards) was important. ... When you're looking at high-end speed, breakaway players that like to play in big moments, Marty is at the top of the list."
Havlat had a no-movement clause in his contract but waived it shortly after being presented with the deal earlier Sunday because of the desire to play for a team that reached the conference final the past two years.
After making the playoffs each of his first five seasons in the NHL with Ottawa, Havlat had been only once the last five years with Chicago and Minnesota.
"For a hockey player, if your season ends April 10, it's kind of an empty feeling, an unsuccessful season for sure," Havlat said. "When the real season starts, you're sitting at home watching the best hockey on TV. I enjoy playing the playoffs. That's why I play hockey, to have that chance."
Havlat has excelled his past two trips to the post-season with 28 points in 26 games in 2006 with Ottawa and 2009 with Chicago—one of the reasons Wilson coveted him so much even though he scored only 40 goals in his two seasons with Minnesota.
The Sharks acquired Heatley two years ago from Ottawa after he demanded a trade, hoping he would be the piece that lifted them to the Stanley Cup. He had 39 goals his first season but only 26 last year as he played much of the second half with a broken hand.
"We are excited to add Dany Heatley, one of the top goal scorers in the NHL, to our team," Wild general manager Cliff Fletcher said. "He is a quality player who has averaged more than a point a game in his nine-year career."
Heatley was a disappointment in the playoffs, scoring five goals in 32 post-season games with San Jose while dealing with an assortment of injuries.
Wilson praised Heatley in a conference call and said this swap of 30-year-olds was more about what Havlat can bring than what Heatley did not.
"These are two very good players," he said. "We just felt at this time with where we're at and the things we needed, to add Marty Havlat was an important piece to add to our own team."
Heatley, who previously had a no-movement clause in his deal, had to give the Sharks a list of 10 teams he would not go to on July 1. The Wild were not on that list, leading to this deal.
The Wild scored the fifth fewest goals in the league last season as they missed the playoffs for a third straight year. That helped lead to general manager Chuck Fletcher acquiring two proven goal scorers from the Sharks.
Heatley is a two-time 50-goal scorer who has averaged more than 40 goals a season the past six years. Setoguchi scored 31 goals two years ago, but was held to 22 this past season.
The deal also gives the Sharks more room under the salary cap, with Heatley being a US$7.5 million hit the next three seasons, compared to $5 million for Havlat for the next four years.
"You have to look at it," Wilson said. "You have to manage that part of the business. Marty just fits really well with our team and our needs today."
Havlat has played previously with a few of the Sharks, including goalie Antti Niemi. But he is most familiar with Burns, his teammate the past two years in Minnesota.
The two former and now current teammates talked already Sunday about their new home.
"It was a quick talk," Havlat said. "There are a lot of other things going on right now. I'm quite sure we'll talk more tomorrow or later tonight. He was excited and I'm excited too. He's not only a great player but a great guy too. Both of us are very excited with what will happen."