The San Jose Sharks didn’t land big gun Rick Nash at the NHL trade deadline. The team wasn’t able to import significant offensive help.
But this week the team added some badly needed scoring help for the stretch run and the playoffs. Martin Havlat finally recovered from a torn hamstring muscle – just in time to add a much-needed offensive boost.
He scored twice, including the overtime game winner, as the Sharks topped the Red Wings 3-2. This was just his second game back to active duty.
Havlat’s return changes the look of this team.
“He's such an important part of our hockey club, and I don't think we even realize yet how much of an impact he can have,” coach Todd McLellan told reporters after the game. “He is a smart, smart player. He doesn't waste a lot of energy on the ice, he positions himself well.”
Havlat isn’t flashy, but he is highly skilled.
“He's a very dynamic, top-end forward,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton told reporters after the game. “I didn't think he'd make this much of an impact in two games, but he just looks fabulous out there.”
Havlat struggled earlier this season after arriving, scoring just two goals and adding just 13 assists in his first 25 games. This continued his career-long pattern of needing time adjust to a new team.
San Jose acquired him from the Wild for winger Dany Heatley. Now the club may finally get the desired payoff for that move.