Martin Havlat's freak injury this season has nothing to do with him being injury prone. It was a misfortune that could have landed upon anyone.
It also presents the ultimate "insult to injury" scenario.
Havlat struggled mightily during his first 24 games as a Shark, registering just one goal and 11 assists. But he played his best game in teal on December 15th against Colorado, leading a 3rd period comeback with two assists.
Havlat was rewarded for his improved play with a juicy first period score two nights later against Edmonton. It was his first goal since November 5th. In the second period, he tore his hamstring after he was bumped into on a line change.
Regardless of the misfortune, Havlat's tenure with San Jose has been disappointing. Dany Heatley—the man traded for Havlat—was moved because he was underachieving. But even Dany Heatley's career-worst 64 points last season topped Havlat's 62, and that was his second-largest total since the lockout.
Without Heatley or Devin Setoguchi, the Sharks desperately needed Havlat to put up big numbers on the wing this season. It's already too late for that, as Havlat's injury should allow him to play no more than 20 more games this season to improve upon his current 15-point total.
But there is a silver lining in Havlat's current situation: The Sharks did not learn to rely on Havlat when he was healthy due to his underwhelming play. Because of that, they are not noticeably missing him during his injury absence.
This means that his return will act more as a trade deadline acquisition than a player coming off IR. It could give the team an unexpected boost and a lot of momentum going into the playoffs.
It also gives Havlat another shot at getting the ball rolling the right way with his new team, and it means his legs will be fresher heading into the post-season—a stage that he tends to shine on.
In the meantime, his absence allows guys like Benn Ferriero and Andrew Desjardins to gain experience and confidence skating with the top six, strengthening San Jose's depth come Havlat's return.
Looking at the hefty price San Jose paid and their hefty expectations for him, his disappointing start and the potential payoff of his timely return, it's safe to say that Martin Havlat is the single Shark who most needs to have a better second half.
That places a ton of pressure squarely on Marin Havlat's shoulders, and given his brittleness as well as clutch ability, you can take that metaphor as you will.
First half numbers: 2 G, 13 A, 15 P, plus-8, 26 GP, 17:41 TOI/G
End of season target: 8 G, 23 A, 31 P, plus-15, 46 GP 18:00 TOI/G