Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson continued to find more players for his talented club and on Sunday he added Martin Havlat
from Minnesota in exchange for Dany Heatley. Havlat represents an injection of speed into the Sharks top-six forward mix, which was something Wilson was recently contemplating.
“He’s got world-class speed,” Wilson said. “We realize that we gave up some speed in the Brent Burns
deal. I think the need to get that in our top-six was important. This player can play with anybody. He's a high-end player that’s got that breakaway speed.”
Wilson said the trade wasn’t a reflection on Heatley’s game, but more the result of identifying what the Sharks needed.
“Both players are very, very good players. It’s what was needed to consummate this trade,” Wilson said. “I can’t say enough about Dany. Dany Heatley is a true professional. I’m proud that he wore our uniform. I was proud to watch him represent us in the Olympics. These are two very good players. We just felt at this time, with where we are at and what we had to add, that Marty Havlat was an important piece to add to our team.”
In order to pull the deal off, Wilson needed Havlat to waive his no-trade clause, something which wasn't a major obstacle.
“I was presented this deal and I decided to waive the no-move clause to the Sharks,” Havlat said. “I’m very excited that I’ll be going to a team where they’ve been one of the best teams in the whole League the last few years. It’s a big challenge for me. I’m excited to be part of a great team.”
“I’m very happy he was willing to waive his no-move to come to San Jose and we appreciate that,” Wilson said.
Contrary to what many previously thought, Heatley didn't have a no-trade clause at this time, instead he had to present the Sharks a list of 10 clubs he would not be traded to and obviously, Minnesota wasn't on the list.
“There was a window built into his contract that allowed this to take place,” Wilson said.
Havlat joins former Minnesota All-Star defenseman Brent Burns
as new members of the Sharks.
“I just got a couple of messages from him and had a quick talk with him,” Havlat said. “I think he was excited, too. For sure we're going to talk more tomorrow or later on tonight. He’s not just a great player, but a great guy, too.”
There's familiarity with other members of the Sharks family as well.
“I played with Michal Handzus
in Chicago for the beginning of a season,” Havlat said. “At the All-Star Game, I met Joe and Patty Marleau and Dan Boyle
. (I played with Antti) Niemi in Chicago my last year there. Some of the guys I know well and some by just playing with or against them. I’ll meet everyone when the season starts.”
As for pairing up with many of these players, that’s the big reason Havlat waived the no-trade clause.
“I know they’ve been in the playoffs,” Havlat said. “They are a great team and they have a great chance every year to battle for the Stanley Cup. It’s very important to me to have a chance to battle for the Cup. Just being in the playoffs, after that you don’t know what can happen. They seem to be doing everything they can to win. That was probably the most important thing to me, to play in playoff hockey.
“For a hockey player, not just for me, but everybody else, if your season ends April 10, it’s an empty feeling," Havlat added. "When the real season starts, you're already sitting at home watching the best hockey on TV. I had the chance to play (in the playoffs) the last five years only once. The five years before that in Ottawa, I played every year. I enjoyed very much playing in the playoffs and that’s why I’m playing hockey.”
Havlat may not have experienced the postseason much the past five seasons because of where he was playing, but he has a lot of Stanley Cup Playoff games under his belt and has been extremely productive in these situations.
“He’s played internationally. He’s played extensively in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “I think his last 26 playoff games he’s had 28 or 29 points. Not being in the playoffs was a tough thing for him. That’s why he plays the game. He’s a hockey player that wants to play in big situations and that’s a piece that we think is an important piece of his make up.”
The Sharks receive a financial benefit to the deal as Heatley’s cap hit is $7.5 million and Havlat’s is $5 million.
“It’s part of it, I’ll be honest with you,” Wilson said. “You have to manage that part of the business. Purely from a hockey basis, Marty just fits really well with our team and our needs today. I really appreciate Dany Heatley’s game and what he brought to our organization.”