ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild right wing Dany Heatley will miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs following surgery on his left shoulder.
The team initially hoped to have the 32-year-old forward back in time for the post-season, but Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher announced just before Minnesota hosted the Chicago Blackhawks that Heatley won’t return this spring.
The surgery was done on Tuesday by Dr. Tony Miniaci at the Cleveland Clinic. Fletcher said Heatley is expected to be fully recovered for the start of next season.
Heatley was hurt at San Jose last Wednesday when a tussle broke out. Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was fined by the NHL for slashing Heatley in the closing seconds. The injury occurred in the ensuing scrum.
Heatley has 11 goals, tied for third-most on the Wild, to go with 10 assists in 36 games. He had been moved off the first line a while ago but has still provided a valuable scoring punch on the third line for a team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in five years.
With one year left on his contract, carrying a salary-cap hit of $7.5 million, Heatley’s future with the Wild is unsettled. He was acquired in a July 2011 trade with San Jose for forward Martin Havlat, and despite the injury the Wild have enjoyed the better of the deal.
Though Heatley hasn’t come close to those consecutive 50-goal seasons he put up with Ottawa coming out of the last lockout, he played in all 82 games in the 2011-12 season, one of three Wild players to do so. Heatley had 24 goals and 29 assists.
Havlat missed more than half of last season. He has 12 goals in 70 games with the Sharks.
The Wild have also been missing veteran centre Matt Cullen because of an unspecified lower body injury. Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said Cullen could be out for another week.