So we're about a month from training camp and the excitement is building. Visions of Jonathan Toews scoring goals, Brian Campbell quarterbacking the power play, and Denis Savard constantly juggling lines are definitely dancing through my head, and I assume everyone else's as well. Who can help it? This season promises to be one for the ages. You'll be telling your grandchildren about it, I'm sure.
And yet, there's one player that I think the Hawks are really going to need to get production from, and I don't know if he can come up with the results. And that player is Martin Havlat.
Flash back to July 9th, 2006. The Hawks acquired Havlat from the Ottawa Senators, while giving up Mark Bell, who headed to the Sharks as part of the deal. When I heard about the trade, I thought "Wait, we got a guy as talented as Havlat, and only gave up an underachiever like Bell? Awesome!". And I do think it was a great move by Dale Tallon at the time.
In his first game as a Hawk, he scored 2 goals and added 2 assists in a Hawk win in Nashville to start the 2006-07 season, and I thought "My god, this guy is going to get at least 100 points and all we had to give up was Mark freaking Bell!". And he continued on that great pace by recording 13 points in his first 6 games, and it looked like we had our first legitimate star forward since probably Jeremy Roenick (or "PR", as he's known to most).
Unfortunately, he injured himself in a game in Dallas in October, and since then, it's been an absolute struggle for him to stay healthy for any period of time. In two seasons with the Hawks, he's played in 91 games and put up 84 points. So, when he has been healthy, he's been good. However, those healthy stints are few and far between.
I love watching Havlat play, and I think that he's one of the top players in the league, when healthy (yes, that caveat is annoying but true) but this is a year where he needs to prove that he's not the most fragile man in the world and stay on the ice more often than on the injured list. This is a good team on paper, and with Havlat out there at 100%, they can be that much better. Let's keep our fingers crossed for Marty.