By Michael Russo
UPDATE: Star Tribune sources say the Wild is working on Saku Koivu as we speak. Still could be done tonight. Also, Havlat just gave me a ring. Quotes up later.
As reported by the Star Tribune earlier this evening, the Wild has signed Martin Havlat to a six-year, $30 million deal.
“We are excited to add the speed and scoring of Martin Havlat to our lineup,” said Fletcher. “He is a terrific two-way player.”
Havlat, 28 (4/19/81), led the Chicago Blackhawks with a career-high 77 points (29-48=77) while skating in a career-high 81 games in the 2008-09 season. He ranked ninth in the NHL in plus-minus (plus-29). Havlat added 15 points (5-10=15) in 16 Stanley Cup playoff games as the Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference finals. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound native of Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, has recorded 396 points (169-227=396), a plus-87 rating, 53 power play goals and 31 game-winning goals in 470 NHL games in eight seasons with Ottawa and Chicago. Havlat participated in the NHL All-Star Game in the 2006-07 season, when he led Chicago in goals (25), assists (32) and points (57) despite appearing in just 56 games. He was a member of the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 2000-01 and played for the Czech Republic at the 2002 Olympics.
Havlat was Ottawa’s first-round pick (No. 26 overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.
In some tweets just now, Havlat said, “Excited to be in Minny where I was welcomed and appreciated by management. The real story about what happened in Chicago to come out.”
“Thanks to all Hawks fans for your love and support over the last 3 years. Will never forget your generousity and the great playoff run!”
“Hossa is a good friend and I am happy for him.”
“There’s something to be said for loyalty and honor.”
Yikes! Just a hunch, but Russo thinks Havlat’s not pleased with the Blackhawks letting him go and signing Hossa.