Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild

UFA of the Day: Dany Heatley


Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Dany Heatley

A two-time 50-goal scorer. Six times he’s eclipsed the 30-goal mark. He won Olympic gold for Canada in 2010. And he’s tied with Marian Gaborik for the highest expiring cap hit of all pending UFAs, at $7.5 million. This guy’s going to get paid, right?

Wrong. Heatley had just 12 goals in 76 games this season for the Wild and hasn’t been a dangerous scorer for a few years now. Where he ends up next season remains to be seen, but the 33-year-old winger seems destined to move on from Minnesota.

“We’ll see at the end of the year,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said last month, per the StarTribune. “His contract is up, and we can just see what the fit is going to be and for us, the key thing is we have to look at our young players and where they’re all going to fit. … So we’ll sit down at the end of the year and talk to Dany and take a look and see how we end up here.”

Is there reclamation potential in Heatley? If he doesn’t sign an extension in Minnesota, that’s what his agent will have to sell on the open market this summer. Maybe the argument could be that the Wild’s system wasn’t a good fit. Or that he didn’t have any chemistry with the Wild’s play-makers.

It’ll be a tough sell. The common wisdom is that Heatley has lost a step (or more than a step) and can’t keep up with today’s younger, faster players.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.