Former Sharks winger Martin Havlat announced his retirement today after 14 seasons in the NHL. Havlat played 790 games for the Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Sharks, New Jersey Devils, and St. Louis Blues.
The Sharks acquired Havlat from the wild in exchange for winger Dany Heatley in the summer of 2011, weeks after completing another blockbuster deal that gave the team current Norris Trophy frontrunner Brent Burns.
As a Shark, Havlat could never stay healthy. He played 39, 40, and 48 games, respectively, in his three seasons in teal, and even infamously injured himself climbing over the boards for a line change. Havlat told the NHLPA’s website that injuries played heavily into his decision to retire.
Hockey was my life, but the last few years, I just couldn’t play the way I wanted to play. My heart wanted to keep on going, but my body didn’t allow me to do it. I felt it was time. I know I’ve made the right decision. I had already undergone a shoulder surgery, a serious pelvic injury and other injuries, but my whole career I dealt with groin problems. I was able to manage the groin problems well enough that nobody would notice. But in the end, the damage was done. Some players never get hurt, but not me. I’m not complaining. I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had.
Havlat’s time with the Sharks was not all bad. Havlat scored the overtime winner in the Sharks’ lone win of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals, and he scored a hat-trick in what proved to be his final home game in teal.
Despite some decent play, management and the coaching staff’s patience with Havlat ran thin by the end of the 2013-14 season, as Jonathan Wold noted when the Sharks used their compliance buyout on Havlat in the 2014 offseason. To the archives!
Despite decent possession numbers and surprisingly good chemistry with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, injuries proved to be the defining characteristic of Martin Havlat's time with the Sharks. He only played in 127 of a possible 212 games in his 3 seasons in San Jose. The coaching staff lost trust in him, and even despite a hat-trick on the Sharks final home game of the season, Havlat was a healthy scratch in 6 of the 7 playoff games this season.
In all, Havlat played 127 games with the Sharks and scored 67 points. Havlat last played for St. Louis over 14 months ago before leaving the team a week after signing with the Blues.