15 Years Later: Evaluating Dany Heatley’s Impact on the Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA - FEBRUARY 26: Dany Heatley #15 and Mike Fisher #12 of the Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal against the San Jose Sharks in a game on February 26, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
OTTAWA - FEBRUARY 26: Dany Heatley #15 and Mike Fisher #12 of the Ottawa Senators celebrate a goal against the San Jose Sharks in a game on February 26, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO – APRIL 11: Dany Heatley #15 of the Ottawa Senators skates with the puck in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 11, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Leafs defeated the Senators on the strength of a 3 goal performance by Boyd Devereaux #22. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO – APRIL 11: Dany Heatley #15 of the Ottawa Senators skates with the puck in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 11, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Leafs defeated the Senators on the strength of a 3 goal performance by Boyd Devereaux #22. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Cup Run

Heatley completely shattered his career highs that year and further elevated his game to another level the following 2006/07 season. The former second overall draft pick posted another 50 goal campaign, becoming the first player to score 50 goals in back to back seasons since Pavel Bure did so in the 1999/2000 and 2000/01 campaigns. Heatley also finished fourth in league scoring that year, passing his previous season’s point total with 105 points, and sat two goals behind Vincent Lecavalier for the Rocket Richard Trophy (awarded to the player who scores the most goals that season).

However, Heatley’s outstanding offensive year was overshadowed by his club’s dramatic postseason run to the Stanley Cup Finals, in which the 50 goal scorer played a vital role in getting his team past the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. During that run, Heatley and the CASH line were the most lethal trio that an NHL post-season had witnessed since the Pittsburgh Penguins dynasty of the 1990s. Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley all finished tied for the lead in league scoring with 22 points in the playoffs, marking the first time in NHL history all three members of a line led the league in points.

Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators /

Ottawa Senators

Additionally, the trio combined for 41% of the team’s offence throughout the playoffs, scoring 28 of the Senators’ 69 goals scored during that post-season. After dominating their opponents in the East, the three stars were unfortunately held to a combined total of 8 points in their finals loss by a tight-checking third line which consisted of Rob Niedermeyer, Travis Moen, and Sammy Pahlsson, who were specifically tasked with shutting down the Senators top guns.

Heatley specifically played a large role on this line during the post-season and became more of a playmaker for his teammates, eventually finishing tied with Spezza for the league lead in assists. He was also a regular voice speaking on behalf of the Senators after their games, often being a memorable presence in post-game interviews by joking around with the media and offering honest soundbites and insight into his team’s play. Additionally, Heatley’s successful conversion of regular season to playoff success was a welcome surprise to Senators fans after his counterpart, Marian Hossa, failed to do so during his time in Ottawa.  Heatley essentially gave the Senators faithful more of a reason to re-invest their trust in the team with his play in the regular season and in the playoffs after multiple early exits from the playoffs. He also helped push the club over the hump which was the Eastern Conference Finals, the one obstacle the Senators could never get past before he arrived in Ottawa. I would say that he played a key role in saving the team’s reputation at the time and did his part in helping this small market team succeed especially in his first two years as a Senator.