The New Jersey Devils remain active in free agency today, signing recently bought out San Jose forward Marty Havlat to a 1 year deal worth $1.5 million. The signing was reported by multiple sources, one of them being TSN analyst Bob McKenzie, who tweeted the info here:
NJ signs Marty Havlat to one year deal.
NJ signs Marty Havlat to one year deal.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2014
The other day, John talked about possibly signing a forward who was bought out, and Havlat was on his list. He essentially wrote that the move looked like a good idea on the surface, but there were some underlying issues with signing someone like Havlat. The positives: he is a right winger, a position of scarcity on the Devils. Also, he has shown good possession numbers throughout his career, with last year being the exception, although he still posted a Corsi For over 50%. The biggest issue, however, is health. Havlat almost never stays healthy. Here are his games played numbers over the last three seasons: 2011-2012 - 39 GP. 2012-2013 - 40 GP (out of 48). 2013-2014 - 48 GP. So really only in the lockout shortened season did he play nearly a full slate. He is injury prone, and that could really hurt NJ if he cannot stay on the ice. This sentiment was also reported by Dan Rosen, who had this to say about the signing:
The Devils obviously see an opening in the East and are trying to go for it by adding scoring. That said, Havlat can never stay healthy.
The Devils obviously see an opening in the East and are trying to go for it by adding scoring. That said, Havlat can never stay healthy.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) July 1, 2014
In terms of statistics, he has not been incredibly productive either, although the injuries could have played a part. Three years ago, he posted 27 points in 39 games, which was not bad, but not great on a strong Sharks team. Two years ago, he produced 16 points in 40 games, and last year he got 22 points in 48 games. These aren't excellent numbers, but for a 1 year deal at only $1.5 million, they are not terrible either. The main issue again is that he only played in such a few number of games. (All statistics courtesy of Extra Skater)
In terms of an opinion, I am not upset with this signing. I fully believe that Mike Cammalleri will be a better player for this organization, but his contract is rather big and cumbersome. Havlat's deal carries almost zero risk for the Devils. It is only a 1 year deal, so they are not locked into anything long term. And at only $1.5 million, he comes relatively cheap. Therefore, for the price, I actually like the signing. Yes Havlat cannot stay healthy, but for the odd chance that he actually plays somewhere near a full slate, he can produce enough to make that $1.5 million look like a steal. The Devils now have essentially 11 top 9 forwards. Perhaps the hope is that even though there is no one star, all of them will produce enough for this team to do well. There have been worse plans for sure.
Now that two signings are in the books, what do you think? Was this a good signing, or was it a poor deal, given Havlat's injury history? How about compared to the Cammalleri signing? Who else do you still want the team to sign? Please leave your comments below, and thank you for reading.