Wilson: Havlat must compete for playing time

Odd Man Rush: Havlat's role, Blackhawks rivalry picks up

Wilson: Havlat must compete for playing time
November 19, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Once you’re back healthy, you have to earn your opportunity and ice time, and that’s the way this game is.
Todd McLellan

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SAN JOSE -- Sharks general manager Doug Wilson wouldn’t comment Tuesday on a recent report that the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers have expressed interest in winger Marty Havlat, who has struggled since his return from offseason pelvic surgery.

Wilson, however, did talk about Havlat’s play, and his recent removal from the lineup by coach Todd McLellan on Nov. 15 in Edmonton. Havlat returned on Sunday in Chicago in primarily a fourth line role, and with time on the second power play unit. Havlat has one goal and one assist in eight games.

[RELATED: Report: Senators, Rangers interested in Havlat]

“Marty is a very talented player, and we have some very talented forwards. … It creates competition,” Wilson said. “As a player, once you’re back healthy, you have to earn your opportunity and ice time, and that’s the way this game is.”

“He went through an injury that was very frustrating to everybody involved, had the procedure, and now he’s back at 100 percent and playing. And, there’s competition,” Wilson said, mentioning players like Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto. “That’s what good teams want. He’s going to have to compete. That’s really what it is. Sometimes, that's beneficial to a team.”

Interestingly, Wilson compared Havlat’s situation to that of Michal Handzus, who was traded to Chicago just prior to the trade deadline last season. Handzus had a increasingly diminished role with San Jose before he was dealt to the eventual Stanley Cup champions for a fourth round draft pick on April 1.

“I had guys last year, veteran guys that were really good players, that couldn’t get into our lineup. Michal Handzus comes to mind, and Michal went on and did a great job in Chicago,” Wilson said. “We just have a surplus of forwards at this point. That could change at a moment’s notice -- knock on wood that I even say that.”

Havlat’s agent, Allan Walsh, also responded to the Ottawa Sun report:

“Martin has a full No Move Clause and no one has ever suggested to him anything about a trade. He is happy in San Jose and solely focused on playing hockey,” Walsh said via Twitter.