As alluded to in a Michael Russo column last week, Martin Havlat has undergone offseason surgery (to his "pelvic area," which sounds painful) with no set timetable for a return, meaning he's officially ineligible to be bought out this offseason. Here's the initial report by Brodie Brazil, relayed from Doug Wilson's annual pre-draft press conference:
Marty Havlat had surgery, no timetable on his recovery. Makes him ineligible for buyout. #sjsharks— Brodie Brazil (@brodiebrazilCSN) June 24, 2013
There was never an indication from the Sharks organization that they were interested in using one of their two compliance buyouts on Havlat but he was certainly the strongest (and perhaps only) contender on the roster to receive one during the NHL's annual buyout period, which opens 48 hours after the Stanley Cup is awarded and closes at 5PM on July 4th. San Jose can technically still trade Havlat but the two years remaining on his contract combined with his extensive injury history and decline in production would have made him a tough sell even before news of this latest surgery broke; it's almost impossible to see a team taking a chance on him now.
So where does that leave the Sharks with regards to Havlat? Well, they stand to receive some cap relief assuming the Czech winger is placed on long-term injury reserve, but only equivalent to the amount by which his $5 million cap hit exceeds the team's available cap space. Seeing as Havlat will probably return to the lineup at some point, that isn't likely to give them enough room to splurge on a replacement but an undervalued free agent forward potentially available on the cheap (that's Viktor Stalberg's music!) could be a stop-gap measure. Of course, playing alongside Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture means facing an opponent's best forwards on most nights which is why Havlat's late-season success in that spot was cause for some reserved optimism going forward. It doesn't look like that will pan out but hopefully whoever the Sharks tap to fill that role will. As for the team's two compliance buyouts, I would be surprised to see either used this summer. Adam Burish is the only remotely sensible target but, as Jon discussed in his review of Burish's season, it probably isn't realistic to expect ownership to spend $3.7 million buying out a fourth-liner.