I was tweaked by Dany Heatley’s claim that he wants out of Ottawa because of his self diagnosed “diminished role”. When Corey Clouston took over as head coach there were a few games where Heatley got only 13 or 14 minutes of ice time but for the most part nothing much changed.
Last season Daniel Alfredsson got more ice than any other forward and deservedly so. He averaged 20:52 minutes per game. Guess who was 2nd? You got it! Dany Heatley at 20:06. On average he played only 46 seconds less per game than Alfredsson. In other words one shift. That puts both of them in the top 30 in the NHL for ice time amongst forwards.
Here is a very short list of some very good players who averaged less ice time than Heatley last season:
NHL Rank /Player/ TOI-GM
#32 Henrik Zetterberg 19:52
#33 Jordan Staal 19:50
#36 Jason Spezza 19:41
#37 Marc Savard 19:32
#40 Joe Thornton 19:27
#43 Alex Kovalev 19:25
#45 Alexander Semin 19:14
#46 Pavel Datsyuk 19:12
#60 Zach Parise 18:45
The two names of particular interest to me are Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Both are integral players in Detroit. Both have won the Stanley Cup. Both at times play on the first powerplay unit. Both at times play on the second unit. Both at times kill penalties. They quietly do what the coach asks them to do for the good of the team. Neither, to my knowledge, has asked for a trade because they feel their role has been diminished and their ice time is not in keeping with their status as super stars.
Dany Heatley it appears is not pleased with being taken off the penalty killing team early in the season and being relegated to the 2nd power play unit in the last third of the season. Well the team was terrible early in the season and the penalty killing was awful. It improved when Heatley was taken off. It didn’t improve because he was replaced, but he didn’t make it better when he was on it. For 8 million dollars a year isn’t he supposed to be a difference maker?
The power play improved after Clouston came in and the number of important goals also increased. This was after Heatley was moved to the 2nd unit. It didn’t help his personal stats but it did help the team win more games.
The worst thing for Dany is that the longer this goes on, the more people are going to put his contentions under a microscope. The more that happens the worse he looks and sadly for Bryan Murray, the harder he is to trade.
See you at the rink.