Both feelings are completely justified.
On one hand Havlat has never played more than 40 games with San Jose in the two seasons he has been with the team. On the other hand, he is a fast, skilled winger that has put up 45 points in 79 regular season games and boasts a plus 17 over that time span. He at times has been the Sharks’ best winger out on the ice. No matter what side the fans are on, Havlat will be an ongoing experiment for the Sharks all season to see if he can fit in with the new system.
When he is on the ice he can be dominant and frustrating to opponents, but then again he isn’t on the ice too often. Whether he starts or not, his veteran leadership will be a great help to the youth of the Sharks; many of whom play a very similar game to his. Coach Todd McLellan will be looking for chemistry out on the ice. If he feels Havlat works well with the third or fourth line then he will be starting night in and night out. But San Jose is much different since the last time Havlat put on his gear.
The Sharks are younger, faster, and more talented especially in their third and fourth lines. Havlat will have to earn his spot back on this revolutionized San Jose team. Players like Freddie Hamilton, John McCarthy and James Sheppard are all very skilled young players. Not to mention newly acquired right winger Mike Brown looks solid as well. McLellan will have a tough decision to make. In any case, San Jose will finally have something they haven’t had in recent memory: depth.
Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
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