Daniel James Heatley (born January 21, 1981) is a German Canadian professional ice hockey winger currently playing for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL). Originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers second overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the top NHL rookie in 2002. However, after being involved in a car accident in the fall of 2003 that killed teammate and close friend Dan Snyder, he requested a trade and was subsequently dealt to the Ottawa Senators.
One of the Senators’ perennial leading scorers during his tenure with Ottawa, Heatley set franchise records for single-season goals (50) and points (105). He typically played left wing with linemates Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. Alternately nicknamed the “CASH Line” (referring to Captain Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley), or “Pizza Line” (referring to a Pizza Pizza ‘free slice’ promotion on nights in which the Senators scored six or more goals at home) the line was consistently among the highest scoring in the NHL since its formation in 2005.
Internationally, Heatley has represented Team Canada in six World Championships, two Olympics and one World Cup of Hockey, as well as two World Junior Championships. In 2008, he surpassed Marcel Dionne as Canada’s all-time leader in goals and Steve Yzerman as the all-time leader in points for the World Championships.
At the end of the 2008–09 season, Heatley demanded a trade from the Ottawa Senators. A deal was in place to send Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers on June 30, but Heatley refused to waive his no trade clause. On September 12, he was dealt to the San Jose Sharks in return for Milan Michálek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round draft pick in 2010.
Heatley was born in Germany to Karin and Murray Heatley, who was then playing in a German hockey league. When Murray retired from hockey, the family settled in Calgary. Because he was born in Germany and his mother is German, Dany holds a dual Canadian and German citizenship, but plays for the Canadian national team (IIHF rules mandate that a player may not switch countries once he has already competed for one, however, Heatley is eligible to play for the German national team for the World Cup of Hockey as it is a non-IIHF sanctioned event).
Playing minor hockey in the Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL) for the Calgary Buffaloes, Heatley tallied 81 points in 36 games in 1997–98 to earn the Harry Allen Memorial Trophy as the league’s top scorer. He went on to lead the Buffaloes to the bronze medal at the 1998 Air Canada Cup, where he finished as both Top Scorer and Tournament MVP.
As Heatley chose to play college hockey in the United States, he joined the Junior A ranks in 1998–99 with the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) to maintain his NCAA-eligibility (as opposed to playing major junior). Recording 70 goals and 126 points in 60 games, he was named AJHL and Canadian Junior A Player of the Year.
The following season, he began his two-year tenure with the University of Wisconsin Badgers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). As a freshman, he was named to the WCHA First All-Star Team and NCAA West Second All-American Team, in addition to earning WCHA Rookie of the Year honours. In the off-season, he was drafted second overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, behind goaltender Rick DiPietro. After his sophomore year, in which he was named to the 2001 WCHA Second All-Star and NCAA West First All-American Teams, Heatley chose to forgo his final two years of college elibility to turn pro with the Thrashers.
Atlanta Thrashers (2001–2005)
Heatley made his NHL debut with the Thrashers in 2001–02, leading all rookies in points (67) and assists (41) and was second in goal-scoring (26) behind teammate Ilya Kovalchuk. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year, for which Kovalchuk was also nominated.
In the 2002–03 season, Heatley emerged as an NHL superstar. Finishing ninth in overall league scoring, Heatley tallied 41 goals and 89 points in 77 games, his best statistical season with the Thrashers.
On September 29, 2003, Heatley was seriously injured after he lost control of the Ferrari 360 Modena he was driving. The car struck a wall, splitting the car in half and ejecting him and his passenger, teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley suffered a broken jaw, a minor concussion, a bruised lung, bruised kidney, and tore three ligaments in his right knee; Snyder was critically injured with a skull fracture and died six days later on October 5 of sepsis. Heatley was charged with vehicular homicide; he pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain a lane, and speeding. He admitted to drinking some prior to the incident, but his blood-alcohol content was below the legal limit. He was sentenced to three years probation, and the judge, Rowland W. Barnes, required the court to approve Heatley’s vehicle, which could not have more than six cylinders and would not surpass 70 mph (112 km/h). Heatley avoided having to go to trial as part of a plea deal that dropped the first-degree charge of vehicular homicide.
Because of injuries he suffered from the car accident, Heatley’s next season started in January 2004 and he appeared in only 31 games. A disappointing season ended with an early elimination in the race for a playoff spot and 25 points. During the last part of the season, the Thrashers and the Atlanta community, including Snyder’s family, were largely supportive of him, including telling Atlanta prosecutors and the judge that nothing would be gained by imprisoning him.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Heatley initially played for the Swiss team SC Bern. He played consistently well, scoring more than a point per game, until being injured in November when he required surgery for a broken orbital bone after being struck in the left eye with a puck. The pupil in his left eye became permanently dilated as a result. He finished the year with the All-Star laden AK Bars Kazan in the Russian Superleague, joining Thrashers teammate and friend Ilya Kovalchuk, among others, but had an unimpressive stint.
Ottawa Senators (2005–2009)
Prior to the end of the lockout, Heatley asked to be traded from Atlanta in hopes of leaving reminders of the tragic accident behind. This was unpopular with Atlanta fans, particularly as Snyder’s father Graham noted that Heatley owed much to the Thrashers’ organization which had particularly been extremely supportive of him during his trial and ordeal. On August 23, 2005, the Thrashers sent him to the Ottawa Senators for Slovak star Marian Hossa and veteran defenceman Greg de Vries. A restricted free agent at the time of the trade, Heatley immediately signed a 3-year, $13.5 million contract with the Senators. Hossa, popular in Ottawa, was traded by Senators’ GM John Muckler immediately after signing a new contract which Ottawa management deemed too high.
In his first game for the Senators, against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 5, 2005, Heatley played with Jason Spezza and Brandon Bochenski, but when the Senators were down with five minutes to go, Daniel Alfredsson replaced Bochenski, scored the tying goal and the ‘CASH line’ was born. As 2005–06 was the first year that the NHL implemented the shootout, Heatley and Alfredsson became the first players to score in an NHL shootout, scoring against Leafs goalie Ed Belfour. Their sticks are now in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Later that month, on October 29, Heatley scored 4 consecutive goals in an 8–0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, marking a career-high for goals in a game.
Heatley made a spectacular start with his new team, registering points in the first 22 games of the 2005–06 NHL season, breaking Marian Hossa’s previous franchise record of 13 consecutive games. Among players with new teams, this was behind only Wayne Gretzky‘s 23–game streak upon joining the Los Angeles Kings during the 1988–89 NHL season.
In his first game back in Atlanta as a Senator, he was frequently booed, indicating that Thrashers fans felt snubbed by Heatley’s previous trade request. Despite scoring, Heatley and the Senators suffered a 5–3 defeat to his former Thrashers teammates.
Heatley finished the 2005–06 season with 50 goals and 103 points, fourth in the league. Incidentally, Heatley’s first 50-goal season also marked the first time any Senators player had achieved that mark, setting a franchise record for goals in a season (previously held by Marian Hossa, who scored 45 goals in 2002–03). Heatley’s 103 points also tied Daniel Alfredsson for the team lead, together surpassing Alexei Yashin‘s franchise record of 94 points in a season (achieved in 1998–99).
Catalyzed by a rejuvenated offense, Ottawa finished the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference and the second best in the league. With lofty expectations for the playoffs, they were eliminated in the second round by the Buffalo Sabres. Heatley recorded 12 points in 10 games. At the end of the season, Heatley was selected, along with Alfredsson, to the Second All-Star Team.
After a slow start to the 2006–07 season, Heatley recorded 50 goals once more (second in the league to Vincent Lecavalier‘s 52 goals) and 105 points (fifth in the league). By reaching the 50-goal plateau for the second straight season, he became the first NHL player to do so since Pavel Bure in 1999-00. Heatley’s 105 points broke the previous franchise record he shared with Alfredsson. His performance earned him a spot on the First All-Star Team.
Heatley and the Senators followed up another strong regular season going all the way to the Stanley Cup finals but finished short in 5 games against the Anaheim Ducks. The CASH line was dominant, with Alfredsson, Spezza and Heatley leading the NHL in playoffs points all tied at 22.
Fresh off the heels of a Stanley Cup finals appearance, Heatley began the 2007–08 season with a new 6-year contract extension with the Senators worth $45 million, signed prior to the season opener against the Maple Leafs. Since arriving in Ottawa from the Marian Hossa trade, Heatley had appeared in 208 consecutive Senators games, until suffering a separated shoulder on January 12, 2008, in a collision with Detroit Red Wings forward Dallas Drake, sidelining him for 11 games. He completed the 2007–08 season with 41 goals and 41 assists for 82 points in 71 games.
In addition to Heatley’s injury, Ottawa was plagued with injuries to its superstars all season. Seeding seventh overall in the East, Ottawa met Pittsburgh in the playoffs, coincidentally the same first round match-up of the previous year. However, Heatley and the Senators would not make a second run for the Cup and were swept in four games. Heatley managed just one point.
On October 3, 2008, Heatley was named alternate captain to Daniel Alfredsson, along with defenceman Chris Phillips. The 2008–09 season, however, was met with decreased production for Heatley and the top line as well as an 11th place finish for the Senators in the Eastern Conference, well out of playoff contention.
Coming off his lowest points total since his rookie season (excluding his shortened 31-game season in 2003–04), TSN reported that Heatley had filed a request for a trade on June 9, 2009, despite being only one year into his 6-year contract extension, signed in 2007. Heatley’s reason behind the request was that he had become unhappy with his role in Ottawa after the season, especially after the Senators made a coaching change and brought in Cory Clouston. Heatley was also unhappy in his perceived limiting of ice time by Clouston, and his move from the first power-play line to the second line, all of which had been discussed in the Senators’ year-end meetings.
In an interview with reporters, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray stated that he was “shocked and disappointed” at the request. In addition, Murray stated that Clouston was hurt by Heatley’s remarks. “The frustrating part for us is we have gone through several coaches here that we couldn’t win enough games with,” Murray stated. “We brought in a guy the results we were very happy with. The team started to look like a real team again. And then to be kind of blind sided in his way of thinking anyway by one of your players – not wanting to fit in. That’s hard for a coach to accept.”
Trading Heatley was made more difficult since his contract demands approximately $7.6 million for the 2009–10 season, with few other teams having salary cap room. A deal was in place to send Heatley to the Edmonton Oilers for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid, on June 30, but Heatley refused to waive his no trade clause which has made him extremely hated in Ottawa and in Edmonton. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has suggested to the club that they may have grounds to file a grievance, as the trade demand may compromise the contract that stipulated they pay upfront (due July 1, 2009) Heatley $4 million USD of the upcoming season’s salary.
San Jose Sharks (2009–present)
On September 12, 2009, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks, along with a fifth round pick in 2010, for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo, and a second round pick in 2010. Heatley is expected to make $8 million this year.
In the Sharks fourth game of the season, their home opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Heatley’s first game in front of the San Jose fans, Heatley capped a hat trick with a penalty shot goal in the third period bringing his season totals to 4 goals and 5 assists (9 points) in the first four games of the season.
Heatley has been voted into the NHL All-Star Game five times, and played in four of them, most recently in 2009. His first appearance in the All-Star Game was in 2003, where he scored four goals, tying a single-game All-Star record (held by four other players, including Wayne Gretzky). The game went to a shootout where Heatley scored the only goal for the Eastern Conference in a 6–5 loss. The shootout goal did not, however, count towards his regulation total of four, leaving him tied for the record. Heatley also added an assist for a game-high 5 points and was named the All-Star Game MVP. In response to Heatley’s impressive performance in just his second NHL season, Eastern Conference teammate Jeremy Roenick commented, “Twenty-two years old? You’re not supposed to be able to pull moves like that at 22. My goodness.”
Heatley was named to the 2006 all-star team, but there was no official all-star game due to the fact that it was an Olympic year and the season was already too condensed.
Heatley’s next appearance came in 2007, where he played on a line with former SC Bern teammates Daniel Brière and Marian Hossa and got a goal and two assists in a 12–9 loss to the Western Conference. Heatley was selected for the 2008, but had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury he suffered in an earlier game against the Detroit Red Wings. Heatley was selected to his fourth All-Star Game in 2009 and scored a goal in a 12–11 Eastern Conference win in a shootout.
Heatley competed in two World Junior Championships during his two-year career at the University of Wisconsin. His first, in 2000, ended with a bronze medal win against the U.S. in a shootout; Heatley scored a goal in the 4-3 victory. The next year, in 2001, Heatley scored 3 goals and 5 points as Canada won a second straight bronze.
Heatley made his senior international debut with Team Canada at the 2002 World Championships, after his rookie season with the Atlanta Thrashers. He scored 4 points as Canada was defeated in the quarter-finals by Slovakia. The following year, Heatley led Team Canada in scoring (7 goals and 10 points) at the 2003 World Championships in Finland, en route to his first gold medal.
Having missed the playoffs once more with the Thrashers, Heatley participated in the 2004 World Championships in the Czech Republic. Heatley dominated with 11 points to lead all tournament scorers, earning his second straight MVP award. Canada captured a second straight gold medal, defeating Sweden 5-3 in the final. Heatley scored his eighth goal of the tournament in the third period, starting a rally from a 3-1 deficit. Several months later, Heatley competed in the 2004 World Cup and contributed 2 assists as Canada defeated Finland in the final to capture the second ever World Cup championship.
At the 2005 World Championships in Austria, his fourth straight World Championships, Heatley did not achieve the same success, with 7 points in 9 games, as Canada was shutout by the Czech Republic in the gold medal game.
On December 21, 2005, Heatley was chosen by Team Canada to participate in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin – his first Olympic games. Heatley managed 3 points in 6 games as Canada, defending its 2002 gold medal, was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Russia.
As Heatley returned to the World Championships after a three year absence in 2008 – he was added to the roster with teammate Jason Spezza after the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from the playoffs – he became Team Canada’s all-time goal-scorer and then all-time point leader for the World Championships, passing Marcel Dionne and Steve Yzerman, accordingly. Heatley finished the tournament with a staggering 12 goals and 8 assists in 9 games, however, Canada was defeated by Russia in overtime of the gold medal game. Heatley was given MVP, Best Forward, and All-Star Team honours.
On December 30, 2009, Heatley was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Heatley helped lead Team Canada to an 8-0 win in the first game of the 2010 Olympic tournament by scoring two goals. On February 28, 2010, the team defeated the United States to win Canada’s eighth gold medal in Olympic men’s hockey.
Heatley was selected as the cover player for the 2004 installment of the EA Sports NHL video game franchise in 2003. However, due to the fallout from Heatley’s accident shortly afterwards, EA switched the cover photo to Joe Sakic, although many copies of the game were shipped with his photo on them.
Heatley has an endorsement deal with Easton Hockey, and now exclusively uses Easton equipment during games.
Awards and achievements
- Air Canada Cup bronze medal – 1997, 1998
- Harry Allen Memorial Trophy (AMHL Top Scorer) – 1998
- Air Canada Cup MVP – 1998
- WCHA First All-Star Team – 2000
- WCHA Rookie of the Year – 2000
- NCAA West Second All-American Team – 2000
- WCHA Second All-Star Team – 2001
- NCAA West First All-American Team – 2001
- Calder Memorial Trophy – 2002
- NHL All-Rookie Team – 2002
- National Hockey League All-Star Game Most Valuable Player – 2003
- Second NHL All-Star Team – 2006
- First NHL All-Star Team – 2007
- NHL All-Star Game – 2003, 2007, 2008 (named, did not play), 2009
- World Championships All-Star Team – 2004, 2008
- World Championships Best Forward – 2004, 2008
- World Championships MVP – 2004, 2008
Records and milestones
- All-Star Game record for most goals in a game (4, tied)
- All-Star Skills Competition record for shooting accuracy (2004) – 4 for 4 (shared with Ray Bourque, Mark Messier, Tomas Kaberle, Evgeni Malkin, and Jeremy Roenick)
- First NHL game-winning shootout goal
- Atlanta Thrashers franchise record for most points by a rookie (67)
- Ottawa Senators franchise record for most goals in a season (50)
- Ottawa Senators franchise record for most points in a season (105)
- Ottawa Senators franchise record for longest point-scoring streak (22 games)
- Ottawa Senators franchise record for most points in one post-season (22, tied with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson)
- First Ottawa Senator in franchise history to score 50 goals in a season
- First Ottawa Senator in franchise history to score back to back 50 goal seasons