Journeyman forward Martin Havlat was invited to a tryout with the St. Louis Blues little more than a week ago, potentially to fill in as the injury bug made its way through the St. Louis roster. After signing a one-year deal the winger makes his Blues debut Tuesday night in New Jersey where Havlat played 40 games last season. Unfamiliar with the 16 year NHL veteran? Read on for a brief introduction to the latest to wear the Bluenote.
Havlat broke into the NHL as a first round draft pick with the Ottawa Senators in 1999. A Calder finalist his rookie season (2000-01, he finished 3rd) he had some very respectable seasons with the Sens, culminating in a 31 goal year in the 2003-04 campaign. After spending time in the Czech and Russian leagues the next season Havlat returned to Ottawa only to miss most of 2005-06 with a shoulder injury.
Traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Summer of ’06, Havlat experienced more injury problems. A teammate there of Troy Brouwer, Havlat would make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in his last year with the ‘Hawks but left as a free agent and signed with the Minnesota Wild before the 2009-10 season. His two years there would be the last full ones to date as injuries continued to plague the aging forward even after a trade to the San Jose Sharks in 2011. As mentioned previously, Havlat played last year with the Devils scoring 5 goals and adding 9 assists in 40 games.
Perhaps so impressed with off-season additions Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall, and possibly influenced by Martin Brodeur’s New Jersey connection, the Blues turned to tryouts for Havlat and fellow ex-Devil Danius Zubris when the injuries began to pile up in late October. With Patrik Berglund recovering from surgery and Paul Stastny AND Jaden Schwartz due to miss significant time, the Blues saw Steve Ott go down with an injury, prompting St. Louis brass to make some kind of move to fill in the top 9 forward spots.
The Blues have signed forward Martin Havlat to a one-year deal. https://t.co/L6vtevV8zE
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) November 6, 2015
Bringing in AHLers Ty Rattie and Magnus Paajarvi have had limited results, and with Dmitrij Jaskin struggling to score his first goal of the season the Blues saw enough from Havlat to warrant the signing, likely hoping his experience might help spark some additional scoring from the bottom 6 forwards on the depth chart. We’ll see tomorrow night whether Havlat has anything left in the tank. He’ll wear number 29 for the Blues.