As of now, there is no word on whether Martin Havlat will be cleared for contact by the time preseason starts tonight – or for that matter, by October 8th when the Sharks open the regular season against Phoenix.
Starting the season down a top 6 forward would be a significant challenge for the Sharks, especially considering that the team’s vaunted offensive depth took a hit this offseason when GM Doug Wilson included Devin Setoguchi as the centerpiece in a deal to acquire defenseman Brent Burns.
For the sake of context, an injury to the top 6 last year tended to result in the return of Joe Pavelski to that group, who put up a career high 66 points in 74 games last year despite spending much of his time centering the 3rd line. This year’s first option appears to be career .25 Point-per-game forward Benn Ferriero.
The Sharks are probably also anxious to have Havlat healthy and available because of the specific skill set he brings to the table. He can replace the speed and game-breaking skill of Setoguchi (and then some), which are two qualities that the Sharks top 6 – talented as they are – will be noticeably lacking anytime Havlat or Marleau are unable to lace up the skates.
Havlat possesses the ability to create his own shot and finish around the net unlike any other current Shark, and maybe unlike any player ever to don the teal and black. See below for 10 examples of what the Sharks gained in acquiring Havlat, which should have San Jose’s staff and fans alike eager for a positive update about their new winger’s shoulder:
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