San Jose Sharks: How They Can Finally Get Martin Havlat Moving

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 29:  Martin Havlat #9 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 29, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Sharks defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Martin Havlat was traded to the San Jose Sharks by the Minnesota Wild Dany Heatley in the offseason.

At first, I thought this was a great trade, but I'm having second thoughts now. As I wrote in my last article, Havlat's super slump may be one of the reasons for the Sharks' poor play as of late.

In 24 games, Havlat only has one goal and 11 assists.

I like Havlat, but that's pretty unacceptable from a player of his caliber. I mean one goal? Come on.

Todd McLellan and the Sharks need to get Havlat going sooner rather than later. But how?

One way is to maybe swap the lines and get Havlat to play with the bigger players like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.

Havlat's confidence could be the issue, as lately, he's been placed on the third line sometimes with lesser talent.

If Havlat gets to play on the top line with the big boys, it should help his confidence. And besides, Marleau and Thornton can easily turn Havlat's season around.

I know McLellan wants to balance the offense, but he should always let Havlat play with another big guy on the team, like Logan Couture or Joe Pavelski more often.

Also, to improve Havlat's confidence, maybe the Sharks should place him on the top power-play unit. Once he scores a goal or two, Havlat may get on a hot streak. Morale and confidence are huge aspects of a player's game.

You could also give Havlat some more shootout attempts to let him know that the team trusts him.

It could also be a matter of Havlat feeling that with a whole depth of offense, he can take it easy while guys like Pavelski and Marleau put the puck in the net. I'm not sure how to fix that, except placing Havlat on the top line like I mentioned earlier.

McLellan should also tell Havlat to worry about the offensive aspect of his game, because once he scores some goals, he'll integrate his offense and defensive games together.

McLellan could also always have a talk with Havlat, and see if anything's wrong, and see if Havlat knows why he isn't scoring.

I'm pretty convinced Havlat is struggling due to some mental reason. Whatever it is, he needs to figure it out. As of now, the Sharks should place him on the top line and see if his confidence is boosted. Maybe playing with top guys will help Havlat break the slump.