That opening penalty shot that Dany Heatley missed in Arizona on Saturday night appears to be his final play as a Duck.
Anaheim placed the declining veteran forward on waivers Monday morning, according to a hockey source familiar with the situation but unauthorized to discuss the transaction publicly, as the 33-year-old has failed to convince the team that his scoring skills can overcome the effects of age.
Heatley, a former two-time 50-goal scorer who began the preseason on the Ducks’ first line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry, was a healthy scratch in Sunday’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
He was replaced by Max Friberg, a 22-year-old making his NHL debut.
Heatley scored two preseason goals, but suffered a first-ever groin injury late in the preseason and missed the first nine games of the regular season. He returned to go point-less in four games, getting scratched four other times and demoted off the top line.
In mid-November, Heatley underwent groin surgery and was sidelined 15 more games, before playing in a return to Ottawa, where he scored 50 goals in both 2005-06 and 2006-07.
He was limited to just one shot and less than 14 minutes of action in both that loss and Saturday’s 2-1 shootout defeat at Arizona.
Age had obviously zapped Heatley of the speed he possessed at his peak, as he occasionally sorely lagged behind offensive surges to the opposing net. He’s played in 869 NHL games.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau gave Heatley the first shootout try in Arizona, but an apparent effort to scoot a shot under the goalie’s legs was denied by Arizona’s Devan Dubnyk.
“He’s a scorer,” Boudreau said after the game. “I was giving him [an opportunity]. …
“You know, he’s only played six games. I’m sure he’s dying to contribute. I thought this might be a jump-start to his contribution if he had gotten it.”
Instead, other NHL teams now have 24 hours to put in a claim for Heatley, who was signed in a low-risk $1-million, one-year deal by Ducks General Manager Bob Murray in the offseason.
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