'08-'09 Season Review: Martin Havlat

With the season now over after a return to the playoffs and the Western Conference Finals, we're looking back at each player who wore the Indian Head sweater for the 08-09 Season and grading their performance. We conclude our player reviews with this year's hockey messiah, Martin Havlat.

Martin Havlat

#24 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks



Apr 19, 1981

Contract Status - UFA - 08-09 Cap Hit - $6 million

2008 - Martin Havlat 81 29 48 77 29 30 5 0 5 1 249 11.6

The Good: Where to start? This year, Hawks fans finally saw the Martin Havlat they thought they were going to when he was brought in after the lockout. He stayed healthy, playing in 81 games, and posted career highs in assists, points, and +/-, leading all Hawks in the former two categories, and all Hawk forwards in the latter. All of this while facing top competition nightly with linemates Andrew Ladd and Dave Bolland, having been moved onto the line in early December, and finally displaying a previously unearthed two-way game. More than that, though, was the eye-test. There were many nights in the dog-days of February where Marty carried the team on his back, a trick he resumed in the playoffs when the Hawks needed it most (Game 1 v Calgary, Game 4 v Vancouver). When the Hawks flat out HAD to have a goal this year, the first one you looked to was #24 in the Indian Head.

The Bad: While it would be easy to carp about how we had to wait for a contract year to see this from Marty in this space, that's not what's going to happen. But more on that in a bit. This year, specifically, my only major complaint is the slow start. Remember, Havlat was initially put on the Bolland/Ladd line ostensibly as punishment; a kick in the ass from Quenneville. The move immediately payed dividends with Havlat potting the game-tying goal against Anaheim on December 3rd, his first game with the kids. But other than that, I'm hard-pressed to find much fault in Marty's game this year. He earned his nickname for a reason.

Playoff Beard Strength: What was an immaculately groomed, metrosexual beard worthy of a Jose Cuervo Black commercial during  the regular season, became a fearsome harbinger of doom for western Canadian hockey teams in the playoffs. Swedes playing for Detroit, however, weren't as intimidated.
Nicknames: Marty, Martylark, (D Ladd) Soul, Jesus Havlat Christ, JHC
Related Photoshops:  The sensation that swept the nation


The Grade:  It's an A, obviously. And since it grows more and more likely with each passing second that this is Havlat's last day as a Hawk, I'm going to take this opportunity to praise him. While all outward appearances indicated this being a stereotypical contract year performance, this was not the case. A lack of someone to get him the puck where he needed it prior to this year, as well as a series of fluke injuries limited his playing time, but he's always been a point per game player when healthy. To all the naysayers- remember his first month as a Blackhawk, when he led the NHL in scoring before getting hurt in Dallas? Was it a contract year then? Here's hoping all of the cock-teasing he's done via Twitter actually comes to fruition. If not, best of luck to you Marty. You will be missed.

Grade Marty