The first real big offensive player to arrive in Chicago during the rebuild to the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship was Martin Havlat. His last season with the Hawks was 2009 which was ironically his best season in his NHL career.
One of the biggest pieces that wasn’t homegrown in the Chicago Blackhawks rebuild to respectability was when the Hawks traded for Martin Havlat in July of 2006 for a bunch of guys you probably have never heard of!
Havlat was a pretty consistent scorer in his youth, and that was exactly what the Hawks needed in trying to get out of their dark ages. Havlat had a pretty good first year with the Hawks scoring 25 times and adding 32 assists, but his second year was a huge wash playing in only 35 games due to shoulder and groin injuries.
Then the 2008-2009 season came which for many Blackhawks fans was the real rebirth season for the Chicago Blackhawks! They played the Winter Classic in Wrigley Field which really was the announcement that they were back, and they made the playoffs for the first time in what seemed like a decade.
Of course Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were coming into their own that year, but it was Havlat who had a career season that year while staying healthy and playing in 81 games. Havlat scored 29 times that season and 48 assists which were all career highs.
The thing I remember most was that he was very effective in the NHL playoffs for the Hawks that year including scoring a huge overtime game winner against the Calgary Flames that got the momentum building for the Hawks that playoff season.
Of course, Havlat didn’t get to stick around for the 2009-2010 season, as Dale Tallon decided on Marian Hossa being a better option than Havlat which of course was very true. Havlat signed with Minnesota and never came close to playing another full season due to many different injuries.
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Havlat’s career ended in 2016 with a few games with the St. Louis Blues, but that’s now how I will remember him.
He was part of the team that brought back hockey to the City of Chicago, and started the team down the path to Stanley Cups. He wasn’t the greatest player to lace him up in Chicago Blackhawks history, but he’s part of the reason there is 3 banners hanging from the rafters since 2010!
What are your memories of Havlat? Do you think he should be on this list?
Only 89 days left until the season opener in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins!