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The battle for the San Jose Sharks skater with the ninth most ice time will come down to the wire. Let me tell you why I went with the injury-prone Martin Havlat.
Douglas Murray, Jason Demers and Justin Braun will be battling for the last two blue-line spots. Even if one is injured or traded, calling up Matt Irwin would likely result in him getting into the rotation. All of them will miss time.
Ryane Clowe is almost as injury-prone as Havlat, though they are rarely as serious. Still, his physical play puts him at higher risk of injury with the condensed 2013 NHL schedule.
Oh, and he will likely be traded.
When have the Sharks not made a deadline deal? How many players might be wanted by other teams to bring an impact player in return, most likely in combination with another player, prospect, pick or some combination thereof?
Clowe's lack of trade restrictions, cap number and expiring contract make him a likely bargaining chip to help swing a deal for a big player. He can play now and another team would have an easier chance to fit the 30-year old under their cap this summer.
Even if the reports of a no-trade clause for Havlat are not true, he is more overpaid and older, thus less desirable in a trade. A once-fast team, the Sharks now need Havlat's speed.
Through 14 games, he has three goals, two assists, one hit, five blocks, seven giveaways and three takeaways. He will play in 43 games, score 10 goals and 12 assists, and register five hits, 18 blocks, 22 giveaways and 12 takeaways to go with a win and three losses in the faceoff circle.