With rookie Charlie Coyle tentatively taking Dany Heatley’s spot on Minnesota’s top line, Heatley now skates with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen on the second line. While an argument can be made not to break up Minnesota’s top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley, moving the aging Heatley to the second may actually provide just the spark needed for Minnesota’s secondary scoring to let loose.
Coyle, who may be the long term solution for Minnesota as top line right wing, brings the same elite skill set he shares with Heatley, but brings greater speed to the table. The rookie’s speed is what will enable the top line to finish plays more efficiently. He’ll also learn how to battle at an elite level throughout the game from one of the NHL’s very best—Parise. Captain Koivu is no slouch, either, when it comes to competitiveness.
That said, however, don’t dismiss Heatley as old and outdated. The 2nd overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft is big, skilled and possesses a lethal shot. His scoring production should increase while skating alongside second line center Cullen and left winger Bouchard is one of the NHL’s deadliest playmakers. If rookie Mikael Granlund can make the adjustment to the NHL, the second line only gets better. Cullen is a great workhorse of a player and both Granlund and Bouchard are deadly playmakers. Heatley would have plenty of great opportunities to score skating on a line with them. Minnesota Wild star player Zach Parise has been thinking the same thing. He said of Bouchard, “…he should be a good setup man for Heater”.
The math is simple—the more dominant the first two lines are, the more likely that the third and fourth lines get offensive chances from an already energy depleted opposing defensive squad. Moving Heatley down to the second line balances the scoring and makes for two deadly offensive lines. Heater isn’t surprised about the changes and is looking forward to playing with Cullen and Bouchard. He said, “I don’t feel like I’m fighting it…I’m playing with two real creative guys, so hopefully we can get something done”. Well, Wild fans, you heard the man—let’s get something done.