Blackhawks News

Where have the (ex) Blackhawks gone?: Martin Havlat

By Sean Fitzgerald

Apr 18, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing

Martin Havlat

(9) skates up the ice during the first period of the game against the Minnesota Wild at the HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cups in the 2009-10, The Blackhawks shocked the NHL with a run to the Western Conference finals in 2008-09. One the key cogs of that Western Conference Finals run was Martin Havlat.

Martin Havlat was drafted 26th in the first round of the 1999 NHL draft by the Ottawa Senators. Havlat would start his career with a fury. He would score 19 goals and tally 42 points in his rookie season. He was a finalist for Calder trophy that year. In his rookie year, he earned the name Mach 9 with his play and jersey number.  By his third year, Havlat had record two consecutive 20 goals seasons in a row. Havlat would help the Senators to a conference finals run in 2003. Havlat would notch 11 points in 18 games.

The next few years in Ottawa would be filled with suspensions and injury. Havlat would be suspended twice, once for high sticking and once for kicking. In the 2005-06 the Injury bug started to bit Halvat. He would miss 56 games with a shoulder injury.  Despite the injury Havlat would return four months to the date after the surgery. He would enjoy his best postseason yet,  recording 13 points in 10 games. The Senators would be decimated by the Sabres in five games.  During the 2006 offseason, Halvat informed the Senators he would sign a one year deal and test free agency afterwards.

Havlat would be traded to the Chicago Blackhawks with Bryan Smolkinski in 3 way deals which involved the San Jose Sharks acquiring Mark Bell for Tom Preissing and Josh Hennessey. Havlat would start his career with the Blackhawks with a bang. He scored two goals in his first game. He would sign three year 18 million dollar contract. Havlat’s time with the Blackhawks would be plagued by injury.  In 2007 he was selected the  NHL all star game, however he suffered a shoulder injury  and would require offseason surgery. Despite being ravaged by injuries with the Blackhawks, he still had 56 pts in 57 games. It was an impressive point per game .  The 2007-08 would be another injury shorten season for Havlat. He would be limited to 35 games.

In Havlat’s last season with the Blackhawks, he rejuvenated his career. He recorded a career high 77 points in 81 games.  This would be the first time the Blackhawks made the playoffs since 2002.  The Blackhawks would defeat the Flames in six games. Havlat would make his mark on game one of the series against the Flames. He scored two goals including the game winner in overtime.  The Blackhawks would defeat the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games. The playoff run would come to an end with a 5 game defeat to the Detroit Red Wings. Havlat would be injured again, receiving a huge hit from Niklas Kronwall. He would lay on the ice several minutes before being hauled off.

The Blackhawks would part ways with Havlat in a tumultuous manner. Havlat would throw barbs at then General Manager Dale Talon via twitter. Havlat would question the loyalty of the Blackhawks to him. Havlat would sign with the Minnesota Wild for 6 years and 30millions. He would not live up to the contract in Minnesota.  He would put up 54 pts in 2009-10. In 2010-11, he would record 62 points in 78 games. The production was not enough for the Wild brass. He would be traded for Dany Heatley from the San Jose Sharks.  Havlat like his previous stops would be injured in freakish manner. In 2011, he tore his hamstring when his skate caught on the boards while trying to complete a line change.  He only appeared in 39 games.

Havlat would play 40 games  last season recording  8 goals and 10 assists. During the Sharks playoff run, Havlat would suffer a back injury. It turns out that he would require a bilateral pelvic reconstruction.  Havlat made his regular season debut for the San Jose Sharks on October 30th. He has played in two games and not recorded a point.