The move that every follower of the San Jose Sharks has been anticipating may have been thrown a wrinkle Monday, Sept. 9. According to David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News, Martin Havlat is skating, "feeling good" and ahead of schedule in his recovery from bilateral pelvic reconstruction:
Camp hasn't even started. I'm getting in shape, too. I'm getting ready for the season like everybody else.
Coach Todd McLellan added that Havlat has been working hard, but he does not expect him to be ready for the more physically demanding training camp that starts Thursday, Sept. 12. Pro Hockey Talk pointed out Monday that he is likely to miss the start of the season. That it is even open for debate is impressive given that in mid-July general manager Doug Wilson practically confirmed Havlat would be put on long-term injured reserve (LTIR):
Havlat had a pretty extensive procedure done. He is an important player to us and we missed him when he wasn’t in there. There is no timeline for a return, so I don’t have an answer for that one.
Players cannot be put on LTIR until the season starts, at which point the salary comes off the cap and the team is free to replace as much of that salary as the player misses time. If Havlat were out half a season, the Sharks would go from being $400,000 over the cap (according to a Cap Geek projection of active players) to $2.1 million under it.
If he returns soon, they may not be able to put him on LTIR at all. The Sharks would be in a bind if he cannot play but counts against the cap. They do not have the room to add free agents and may not be able to even call up replacements in the event of further short-term injuries.
That limits the list of players San Jose could use to fill the role of scoring forward when the season starts in October.