By Guest Contributor Kyle McLorg
Missing Dany Heatley
I’ll admit that I got a little giddy when I heard that the Sharks traded away Dany Heatley for Martin Havlat this last off-season. San Jose picked up Heatley in a blockbuster trade two seasons prior in hopes that he would be the missing piece that brought the club over the top. Often marred by injury and lackluster play, Heatley never quite lived up to his albatross of a contract. He was on and off and at times appeared to be hot-dogging it. The fact that he was basically a no-show during the playoffs only added to the frustration surrounding this acquisition. Needless to say, I was glad to see him go in exchange for Havlat.
A veteran forward from the Minnesota Wild, Havlat was supposed to bring speed and playmaking ability to one of the Sharks’ two top lines. But following a freak hamstring injury that he suffered after jumping over the boards in December, Havlat hasn’t seen the ice in almost two months. In fact, he hasn’t even taken to skating yet as he continues to rehab the bad hammy. The hope is that he will be back to help the Sharks in mid-March, but with an injury as sensitive as a hamstring, you can never be too careful.
So far, this deal is looking like a huge bust. Heatley hasn’t been an absolute world-beater in Minnesota (18 goals, 21 assists), but he’s certainly provided more firepower for the Wild than Havlat has for the Sharks (2 goals, 13 assists).
Sharks may look to add veteran forward depth on their top lines
The Sharks are rumored to be in the market for some veteran forward depth before the NHL trade deadline on February 27th. While Havlat’s return will act as a somewhat of a talent addition, the Sharks should still shop around to bolster their weak spots.
This isn’t anything new for the Sharks — they have been known to use the trade deadline to re-craft their roster in the past. Last year they picked up Ben Eager and Ian White to shore up both their fourth line and defense, respectively.
This year their needs are different. The Sharks are rumored to be in the market for some penalty killing help and some veteran presence on the top line.
The first name that the Sharks are rumored to have interest in is Travis Moen. This isn’t San Jose’s first go around with Moen — they picked him up at the trade deadline in 2008-09 to provide some penalty killing help. At the end of the season, Moen left the Sharks and signed a 3-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens. Now the Sharks have eyes on the forward to return to the Bay Area in hopes of bringing some penalty killing help once again.
The other two names swirling out in the rumor mill are Mike Knuble and Ray Whitney.
Whitney, a 39-year-old forward on the Phoenix Coyotes, could provide a veteran presence to one of the top two lines, where Havlat has been missing. Youngsters Benn Ferriero, John McCarthy and Andrew Desjardins have filled in admirably, but a little taste of experience could do the club well.
A trade to acquire Mike Knuble could be the most intriguing choice for the Sharks. The 39-year-old Washington Capitals winger has had a mediocre 2011-12 season, netting only 3 goals, but the talent surrounding him has been less than stellar. Last year, however, Knuble scored 24 goals for the Caps, and he could provide the pop that the Sharks are looking for with a better supporting cast.
Joe Thornton, who played on the Boston Bruins with Knuble early in his career, told Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area that Knuble is “Big, strong, goes to the net real hard. Great quick release, and likes scoring dirty goals. Just a competitor and good veteran leadership.” Should Knuble find his way to San Jose and flourish, this “dirty goal” scorer could be a big difference maker down the stretch for the Sharks.