Jumping the shark is an idiom, first employed to describe a moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery.
Which brings us to this guy.
There is no doubt that Mr. Heatley has terrific career numbers; and that he's widely regarded as being a part of the upper crust of the league- amongst the elite. A potent goal scorer, a game changer, and someone who should bolster a perennially anemic and flaccid offense.
Is this really the case though?
Kent Wilson, who writes for a handful of websites, wrote a piece in Early July about the decline of Dany Heatley. Wilson used a variety of sabermetrics, which have established a solid foot hold in the hockey community (thanks to guys like Timo Seppa at Puck Prospectus,) to illustrate that Heatley is trending downward. His even strength numbers, at one point were considered elite, have slid into mediocrity. Wilson even made the point that Heatley's metrics were among the lowest on a stacked Sharks team, and comparably speaking, Martin Havlat's numbers were fantastic.
So, has Dany Heatley jumped the shark?
Full disclosure, I'm not a numbers guy- never excelled in math in school (in fact I was TERRIBLE with it,) and try to avoid them to a large extent- I even initially chose a major in College because I was told that there was very little math involved. I've come to accept the increasing usage of metrics in professional sports, namely baseball and now hockey, as an inevitability- so I try not an look at them with complete disdain. There is a place for them, in terms of widening the horizon of analysis, but I don't necessarily subscribe to things like Relative Corsi (even though I really should.) I don't think that the numbers necessarily tell the whole story, that there can be non-quantitative and non-numeric elements to the game; almost an esoteric level.
And maybe, in Dany Heatley's defense, this may be the case. Heatley had injuries to both his ankle and hand, amongst other little nagging nuisances that held his production back. Maybe the chemistry, despite how great it looks on paper, wasn't there. It could have been any number of things- elements of the game that can't be defined by metrics.Maybe the most important thing to consider here is that this is the first time Heatley's been traded; not asked to be traded, but flat-out traded. He's been savaged for being a no-show in the playoffs, and he and his 7.5 million dollar contract has been shipped here to Minnesota, for a guy that San Jose presumes can put them over the top in Martin Havlat. That should be motivation itself- to prove everyone wrong.