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Heatley aims to put rough seasons behind him

Sep 24, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

Dany Heatley #15 of the Minnesota Wild takes a shot as he warms up prior to facing the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on February 2, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.
(February 1, 2012 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Dany Heatley has been on a slow downward path since his back-to-back 50-goal campaigns with the Ottawa Senators, but that decline has increased in recent years with him recording 64 and 53 points in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively. He then scored just 11 goals and 21 points in 36 games last season.

His 2013 campaign was ultimately cut short due to a shoulder injury that led to surgery. If it wasn’t for that injury, the Wild might have bought out the final campaign of his six-year, $45 million contract.

It’s moot now though, he’s here and looking to do “a lot more than I had the last two years,” according to NHL.com.

Wild coach Mike Yeo is excited about the possibility of having Heatley back and healthy.

“Talking to him, I know that he’s extremely motivated,” Yeo said. “I know that he’s going to come in looking to prove himself.”

Heatley is 32 years old, so it’s not as if a comeback is impossible. In fact, a great season from Heatley could convince a team to sign him to another, albeit significantly less lucrative, long-term deal despite his previous disappointments.

More importantly for the Wild, a solid campaign from Heatley would go a long way towards providing the Wild with the offensive depth needed to take another step forward after ending their playoff drought last season.

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