Will a former Ottawa Senators star return this season? The Senators, according to the Ottawa Sun are reportedly interested in offering a PTO to Martin Havlat. Havlat was a beloved player during his tenure with the Senators. Havlat played with the Senators from 2000 to 2006. The Czech forward was the 26th pick in the 1999 NHL entry draft. Will Havlat play for the Senators this season?
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If Havlat signs a PTO, it is in no way a guarantee he will be with the club during the season. A PTO is a professional tryout. The contract would allow Havlat a chance to make the club through training camp. Havlat played with the New Jersey Devils last season, logging forty games played with fourteen points. Would Havlat be able to contribute to the Senators?
Goal scoring and point production were Havlat’s forte in his previous run with the Senators. Havlat’s best season as a Senator came during the 2003/2004 season where he had 31 goals and 37 assists which resulted in 68 points. His most productive season as an NHLer was with the Blackhawks in 2008/2009. Havlat put up 29 goals, and 48 points resulting in 77 points. The 2008/2009 season also saw Havlat log a season-high in games played with 81. Havlat does have a downside. He has battled injuries and missed many games during his NHL career.
Havlat has had trouble staying healthy. He has not played in more than fifty games in any of the last four seasons. Aside from his difficulty staying in the lineup, Havlat has been a productive player during his NHL career. He logged 62 points five seasons ago, a year that saw Havlat stay healthy and play 78 games. It is no doubt worth it for the Senators to offer him a PTO.
A PTO offer to Havlat has little negative consequence. The Senators would be giving Havlat a chance to make the team. If he did make the team, he would presumably be playing on either the 3rd or 4th line. Havlat could provide some depth offensively and also give some of the Senators younger players more time to develop. Would it be that bad to have Havlat playing over Chris Neil or Alex Chiasson? Graeme Nichols at the 6th Sens gives an excellent analysis of Havlat’s numbers, and we share many of the same sentiments on Havlat. It is a low-risk move. Only positives could come out of Havlat attempting to make the Senators squad.
The off-season was fairly silent for the Senators in terms of acquiring new talent. It would be quite strange to see Martin Havlat back in an Ottawa Senators jersey. If he can still play and comes at a decent price, then the Senators should sign him. It will be interesting to see if he signs the PTO and comes to Senators training camp. It was nice to have some Senators news as it has been a quiet month in terms of hockey news. Next month training camp begins, maybe Havlat will be there.