Apparently, if one believes the rumors flying around HB these days, the Hawks are considering dealing RW Martin Havlat, perhaps to the Canadiens.
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I believe there could be something to this rumor.
First, though incredibly skilled and one of the best forwards in the game when healthy, at $6 mil. per, Havlat has been a part-time player for the Hawks due to injuries. Further, there have allegedly been some bad feelings in the dressing room about his "superstar" status, a well-documented tiff with Martin Lapointe and, supposedly, an issue with clubhouse personnel over the relative ripeness of bananas (not kidding).
Second, the Hawks are most likely not going to the playoffs this year. At the same time, the progression and maturation of the teams' forwards has been much greater and faster than anyone anticipated. In addition to Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp has emerged as a two-way threat. Dustin Byfuglien has a hat trick (and nearly a second one recently) this season, immense talent and yet can and probably will get a lot better. Jason Williams (a RW, by the way) returns from injury soon.
Third, Dale Tallon knows he has some holes to fill (#1 goalie of the future, a veteran top 4 defenseman, more size upfront, more scoring from the LW) and he wants maximum cap room going in to the off-season.
The Hawks made a significant offer to Peter Forsberg, for between 4-6 million per season. Had Forsberg accepted it, it was my belief that havlat was certainly gone. The logic being that the team could afford one $6 mil. per year part-time superstar, not two. That said, I saw no menntion yesterday that Forsberg is retiring or ruling out a return to the NHL after this year. It strikes me as funny that so many fans of teams that wanted Forsberg this season assume that his career is over because he doesn't feel 100% this year. Personally, I felt Tallon's interest in him was entirely for next year and the year after, precisely because he's still not 100%. So don't rule that possibility out, especially not if Havlat is dealt.
Which brings us back to the central issue: what is the asking price for the speedy Czech winger. I believe, based on the aforementioned, Tallon will want picks and/or AHL level prospects with legitimate NHL future. Tallon has stated recently that he believes this year's draft is a good one. And again, I believe he wants maximum cap room going into the off-season.
Finally, the Habs have the cap room to make this deal. I will also add that in my opinion, they are the best team I've seen in the East this year. And as Havlat has recently started looking like the real Marty Havlat, it could be a very good deal for them as they gear up for a Cup run.
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