St. Louis Blues Forward Martin Havlat Leaves Team for Personal Reasons


Just a week after he signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Blues, it appears that 34-year-old forward Martin Havlat is done in St. Louis, and possibly with his NHL career. Havlat requested to leave the team for personal reasons at some point between the end of Thursday night’s game and the announcement of the waiver wire on Friday morning, as he was placed on waivers for the purpose of his unconditional release prior to Friday’s Blues practice.

Havlat, who is in his 15th NHL season, was brought in by the Blues along with his former New Jersey Devils teammate, Dainius Zubrus, on a professional tryout arrangement in late October. After 10 days of evaluation, the Blues decided to sign Havlat to a deal and pass on Zubrus last Friday. After taking some more time to get acclimated to the Blues’ system in practice, Havlat played in both games of the Blues’ East Coast road trip this week.

It’s puzzling to try to understand why Havlat called it quits after such a short time with the Blues, as he delivered a solid performance with the club over the past two games. Havlat scored a goal in his Blues debut on Tuesday against his former team, the Devils, while also collecting three takeaways in 14:14 of ice time. While he wasn’t spectacular on Thursday against the New York Rangers, he wasn’t terrible, either, as he had a minus-1 rating with one shot and one hit through a team-low 7:33 of ice time.

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Just speculating based on the information that has been divulged, it sounds like Havlat might have had something come up that takes precedence over hockey. Via a press release from the Blues on Friday, “Havlat has asked for privacy at this time and neither he or the Blues will have any further comment on the matter”.

While Havlat’s departure eats at the Blues’ forward depth as things stand right now and will likely force Ryan Reaves back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch in three of the past four games, it does give the Blues one less tough decision to make when they eventually get their injured forwards back. Center Paul Stastny is likely to return from a broken foot later this month, so he’ll probably end up filling the spot that’s been vacated by Havlat. The Blues also will have to make room for Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund at some point after the new year.

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It’s unknown whether forward Steve Ott will be healthy enough to return to the Blues’ lineup on Saturday against Chicago after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury. His return would give the Blues more choices, rather than having to play all 12 of their healthy forwards against the Blackhawks. With Havlat’s roster spot vacated, it’s possible that the team could call someone up; Ty Rattie, who collected two points over five games earlier this season, could be an option. If the team is looking for more of a depth player who can be around for emergency purposes but not require frequent playing time like the 22-year-old Rattie, they could look to 29-year-old career minor-leaguer Pat Cannone, who leads the AHL Chicago Wolves with 14 points this year (five goals and nine assists) and has a team-leading plus-12 rating.

The finances for Havlat’s time with the Blues should be virtually negligible, as he spent just seven days on the roster, collecting a pro-rated portion of his $600,000 NHL salary.

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