SAN JOSE Sharks forward Marty Havlat, one of the teams key offseason acquisitions, has hit a bit of a wall.
Havlat missed all of training camp and the first four games of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery. When he returned on Oct. 21 in New Jersey, though, it looked as if he had never missed a beat. In fact, in his first eight games as a Shark, Havlat scored one goal and added seven assists.
Since then, Havlat has just one assist in his last six games. Torrey Mitchell has taken his place on the teams second line with Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe, while Havlat skates with Michal Handzus and Jamie McGinn.
Point-wise its not there, but Im just trying to do my best every night and be helpful, said Havlat after Tuesdays practice at Sharks Ice. It doesnt matter what way, but production-wise, Im not happy with that either. It was a good start, I just have to keep working and it will start coming.
We keep winning, and thats the most important thing. Im just trying to chip in like everybody else. Its great we have so many great players here.
Our colleagues at NBCs ProHockeyTalk.com named Havlat as one of its three duds of the week on Monday. That may be a little harsh, as the line change is likely a reflection of Mitchells strong play as much as it is Havlats drop in production.
According to the blog:
His slump is being overlooked because San Jose is on fire and atop the Pacific Division, but its definitely noticeable head coach Todd McLellan bumped Havlat out of the top-six and replaced him with Torrey Mitchell. Havlats now skating on the third line with Jamie McGinn and Michal Handzus while averaging 2.3 shots per game and 2:27 of PP time.
Todd McLellan chimed in on Tuesday with his thoughts on Havlats season.
In my opinion, Martys first seven or eight games were really strong, and then he kind of fell off a little bit, said the coach. That can happen when you havent had training camp, and when you havent been going at game pace, and traveling and grinding it out like everybody else is. You can start and plateau, and maybe take a little dip.
Hes worked hard to pull himself out of it, and I think thats a real positive sign. When he gets rolling again, I think we expect him to maintain that.