The Contrarian debates the merit of the Ducks signing of Dany Heatley.
The recent signing of Dany Heatley by the Anaheim Ducks to a one year, one million dollar deal made me think of the 80's movie Highlander. If you don't know, it is a cult movie starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown. Even with now outdated special effects there are some good lines in it, the most popular probably being "There can only be one".
The primary question about the deal is will Heatley be the one to play with Corey Perry and Ryan Geztlaf? The secondary questions are how many points will he get and is this a good signing or not?
TheScore's Justin Bourne, looks at the merits of the deal in his article "Dany Heatley is done, Dany Heatley is a great signing: a one-man debate".
On the pro side he says, "We're really debating if a career elite scorer at 33 – not 43, people – is worth a one million dollar one year shot?"
He compares the salary demands of this to several other depth players. In terms of money he decides that this is a steal and adds, "the fact that this piddly contract is a wake-up call, and you've got a motivated Heatley working his tail off this summer to come into camp in shape and have a great season."
Bourne also lists, Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk and Jaromir Jagr as the only other players besides Heatley to have tabulated two 50 goal scoring seasons since 2000 as validation of his elite scoring talent.
Finally, the icing on the cake is that Heatley played on the same line with Perry and Getzlaf for Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics. Let your imaginations run and then attempt to answer the primary question.
It is tempting to add Heatley to your fantasy teams but before you do, he does detail the negative aspects of the contract signing.
Heatley's ice-time has been declining, his plus/minus and Corsi ratings were terrible last year and like everyone else notes, he has slowed down too much.
On the surface it looks like the arguments for and against are good enough but I wanted to dig further into them.
From the LA Times, Lisa Dillman gets quotes from Ducks GM Bob Murray.
"He's a guy, over the years, I've always liked"
"He's been intriguing because he is a pure goal-scorer. He's much better away from the puck than people think he is"
"He's very motivated at this point and our power play wasn't very bloody good last year and he's very good on the power play"
"We're a good match for each other at this moment"
She also gets a quote from Heatley, "I know the knock on me is that I'm not quick enough anymore. I disagree with that. I can still play this game. I'm still quick enough, fast enough, and I can score goals."
However, Chris Kober of SB Nation Anaheim Calling blog counters with other thoughts, "a quick look at the usage stats/charts on extraskater.com shows that Heatley isn't really in the same league with [Perry and Getzlaf]. His usage was more along the lines of Kyle Palmieri or Matt Beleskey, both of whom saw time on the first line, but obviously were unable to cement their position there and could both be considered fourth liners.”
He points out that except for the first year in San Jose, his statistics show a steady decrease. Adding, that the signing will most likely hurt Emerson Etem and Nic Kerdiles because of the number of contracts the Ducks are carrying but in his very last paragraph he adds, "When you are an aging veteran with steadily declining numbers, you have to compete with young prospects on the rise who have just as much, if not more to prove than you do."
Even our own Dobber is cautious, "I'm still not drafting Heatley unless he falls to me during the later bench rounds. And even if I take him, I'll be quick to shop him in early November."
Yet, with all that there still is the temptation to grab him because of his elite scoring abilities. So I wanted to compare Heatley to several other former 50 goal scorers.
Keith Tkachuk – Scored his two 50 goal seasons in his early 20's like Heatley. After age 33 he got a few 50 point seasons then retired.
John Leclair – Got three 50 goal seasons in his mid to late 20's. At age 33 he earned two more 50 point season and soon retired.
Peter Bondra – He earned his 50 goals seasons in his late 20's and had a few 50 point seasons after 33 before retiring.
Brendan Shanahan – Earned his 50 goal season in his early 20's but he was a steady producer until 37 on a great Detroit team.
So far this is why anyone would be tempted to take a chance on Heatley. I continue with a few more players though.
Alexander Mogilny – His 50 goal seasons came in his mid 20's but he had injury issues. After 33 he did not get more than 30 points.
Dave Andreychuk – His came when he was 29 and 30 years old and almost immediately his production fell only getting more than 40 points when he was 34.
Kevin Stevens – Mid to late 20's when he got his two, then things went south because of his injury. Got more than 40 points only two other times.
Jeremy Roenick – Possibly the best comparison, got his two 50's at 22 and 23 years of age. From 31 to 34 his production deteriorated. After that no more than 33 points.
Stephane Richer – Mid 20's when he got his 50's and then his points were down. Stats bumped up between ages 31 to 33 but then no more than 30 points after that. He was fighting depression though.
Vincent Lecavalier – He got his one and only 50 goal season the same season Heatley last did and since then it has been a steady decline. His contract is worth a lot more.
It seems that the myth of elite scoring can hurt your chances by trying to milk points out of a veteran player.
Good signing? For the Ducks sure because the price was right. For fantasy owners it is pretty much irrelevant.
How many points will he get? I'll venture to say less than 45.
Will he play with Perry and Getzlaf? Not as often as a fantasy owner would want. Probably on the second line and second power play unit by December.
All this leads me back to one more line from the movie Highlander, "I have something to say! It's better to burn out than to fade away!"