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Martin Havlat has agreed to be the historically fragile offensive talent to replace another historically fragile offensive talent for the Minnesota Wild, signing a six-year, $30 million contract this evening according to the Star Tribune.
Havlat leaves the Chicago Blackhawks after three seasons, his best (and healthiest) coming in 2008-09 with 77 points in 81 games to help lead the Hawks to the Western Conference finals. He had 15 points in 16 playoff games as well.
Sniff, sniff ... anyone else smell smoke? That's the bridge to Chicago that Havlat might be igniting soon, according to his official Twitter feed. The following appeared after the Wild signing:
"Excited to be in Minny where I was welcomed and appreciated by management. The real story about what happened in Chicago to come out."
"There's something to be said for loyalty and honor."
Well, that didn't come off too bitter. The Blackhawk's long-term commitment to Marian Hossa likely spelled the end for Havlat in the Windy City. And at 6-foot-1, he obviously was over the height requirement to be signed by the Montreal Canadiens.
As for Minnesota, they're getting a quality two-way player coming off a massively successful contract year. He led the Blackhawks with 2.89 points per 60 minutes in 81 games -- that's killer. Hard to imagine how he'll hit those numbers again in Minnesota, but 60-65 points and the ability to make his linemates better makes this a good hockey move.
Financially ... well, the cap hit's about right considering how Marian Gaborik reset the market earlier in the day after leaving the Wild for the New York Rangers. It's actually a lower hit than he had on his last deal with Chicago ($6 million). But for all the puckheads screaming about how five years for Gaborik is too long for someone that F-R-A-G-I-L-E ... how's six years for Marty Havlat treatin' you?
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune also writes that Saku Koivu is sleeping on an offer from the Wild tonight. Well, not literally ... staples and paper cuts. He'd never get to sleep.