DETROIT - Injured Sharks forward Marty Havlat is scheduled to return to action in mid-March, Todd McLellan said after the Sharks-Red Wings game on Sunday afternoon.
Havlat has been out since mid-December with a partially torn hamstring and is skating again in San Jose.
McLellan said the Sharks expect him to be an effective player come playoff time.
Were counting on that. Hes going to have to take great pride in his fitness and his preparation and I think hes that type of guy, McLellan said. His opportunity to play in games down the stretch is going to be real important. Hell have to be sharp, his practice time will be important, but we need him. Hes an important piece and fills out our top six.
In theory, getting Havlat back could be viewed as a trade deadline acquisition. The Sharks arent expected to make any major moves in the days leading up to the Feb. 27 cut-off date, but a healthy Havlat adds to their depth at the forward position something thats been lacking in recent months, especially before the recent acquisition of Dominic Moore.
When that hypothesis was offered up to McLellan, he said: Yes and no. You get a player that comes into your lineup that you havent had for a long, long time and hes a very good player. Hes ahead of a player that you would trade for because he understands our philosophies, he knows his teammates, hes familiar with his environment.
The difference with Marty when he comes back is he hasnt been playing. Hes going to have to find his game, and find it quickly."
Although he hasnt been in the postseason since 2009, Havlat has had success in the playoffs. In 67 career playoff games with Ottawa and Chicago, Havlat has 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points.
Its been a season to forget so far, but there's still time for Havlat to have an impact.
More injury news
Marc-Edouard Vlasic wasnt made available to the media after taking a puck to the face on Sunday in Detroit. An update is expected on the defenseman on Monday, when the Sharks have an afternoon practice in Columbus.
A bloodied Vlasic left the Red Wings game early in the third period and did not return.
The Sharks expect to have an update on Douglas Murray, who has missed the last two games with a fractured Adams apple, in the next day or two, McLellan said on Sunday.
Whether or not Joe Pavelski skates today will be of note. The forward took a slap shot to the helmet from Detroits Nicklas Lidstrom on Sunday and although he returned, voiced some concerns after the game.