Sunday, January 1, 2012

San Jose Sharks: The Best Way To Replace Martin Havlat is to Not

Martin Havlat, the speed and offensive skill the San Jose Sharks traded for during the offseason, is out for good portion of the upcoming few months. As far as we know, he will be sidelined 6-8 weeks, but we can bet on the 2 month range looking like a probable timetable for his return.

That likely return will take us to just about the end of February 2012 and leave around a month and a half left in the season for the Sharks.

With the team already struggling in several aspects of their game so far this season, it is only fitting that trade rumors surface in order to salvage a possible Western Conference playoff run.

That is what happens when Doug Wilson is your GM, though. His flair for the timely trade has become standard around San Jose, but this season may be the most important for him to come through in the clutch.

However, does this team really need to make a key acquisition right now if they are to make a real push in the Western Conference playoffs?

Losing Havlat is a blow, but overreaction may be even worse, which is why Wilson needs to take a step back for the moment and wait until the trade deadline to acquire that talent needed for a deep playoff run.

The reason for the wait is the team is used to running without Havlat. His absence from the team has been more of a distraction than his actual unimpressive play on the ice so far this season.

Wilson, given his reputation and long list of acquisitions in the Sharks' organization, should understand what a player's worth is. This far into the season, that is tough to judge.

Make no mistake, San Jose's main trade bait is goalie Antero Niittymaki, who recently returned from injury and replaced Thomas Greiss as the second-string netminder on the team, despite Greiss's respectable play behind starter Antti Niemi. Many teams are looking for a goalie and they will be calling Wilson come the trade deadline.

That time would become Niittymaki's highest value period, where teams need the goalie and Wilson can make his play for who he wants on that opposing team. Right now, although the team can use a healthy body whose name provides a bigger boost than Benn Ferriero, the Sharks need to wait and accept the "winger by committee" that is presumed to occur over the next couple months for the Sharks.

Wilson will make a significant trade this season, and it will most likely have Niittymaki's name in it, but now is the time to form chemistry with this team that includes Ferriero (the best option at winger they have) and whoever else coach Todd McLellan decides to light a fire under. Havlat will be back and he will be affective, but making a drastic trade so early in the season is nowhere near where Wilson is or should be leaning right now.

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