The situation surrounding the San Jose Sharks and Martin Havlat has been an interesting one this summer. A player that looked like he was headed towards a compliance buyout wasn’t bought out, but it wasn’t because the Sharks didn’t have that intention. As has been the case with many things over the course of his career, an injury prevented it.
The Sharks could not buy out Havlat because he underwent surgery on his groin. The compliance buyouts cannot be used on an injured player. Otherwise, it’s very likely we would have seen Havlat looking for a new home as a free agent this summer. Obviously, that’s not the case at this point.
Instead, the Sharks face a tough decision in regard to the veteran forward. Do they simply place him on injured reserve, or do they go the alternative route and place him on long-term injured reserve? Given their current salary cap situation, this certainly seems like an easy call.
Havlat has been an effective player when he’s been in the lineup for the Sharks, but that’s just the issue: he’s failed to remain healthy, as he has throughout his entire career. He has 45 points in 79 career games with San Jose, across two seasons. With two years left on his deal, Havlat carries a $5 million cap hit.
The surgery that Havlat underwent was a pretty serious procedure on his groin. There is no timetable for his return, but it’s pretty clear that he’s not going to be ready to start the season. With the Sharks just over $400,000 over the cap at this point, placing Havlat on LTIR may be their only option.
That would give them some salary cap relief, while it would give Havlat plenty of time to return from his injury. With the financial situation that the Sharks currently find themselves in, LTIR for Havlat is likely going to be their only option.