Year two of the Martin Havlat experiment was better. He missed just four games, tied for the team lead in points scored, and was productive. Most of the time. The constant line shuffling did not work for Havlat, nor did the early season benching that set off his agent. The call out of the team led to increased TOI, and increased production.
Havlat's talent is as amazing as it is frustrating. When he is on, he's on, and when he's not... he's just not. The effort on the defensive side could be better, but he more than makes up for it with his scoring. All in all, he's the closet thing the Wild have to a consistent threat, and that give him a boost.
What did the HW staff have to say? You know what to do.
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JS- GRADE: B Thank God he didn't turn in a season like last year's. We saw a lot more of what we first expected from him this year and was huge for this team for the majority of the season. However, he seemingly lacks the drive to perform great every single night, just turning on the jets when he feels like it. That being said, when we needed him to step up, he usually did. He scored some dandy goals, some clutch goals, some exciting goals, and all those added up to a team-leading 22 goals. I know he can do better than 22, but we shouldn't expect much more than 30 for this guy who is mostly a playmaking dangler. All I can say is that I'm glad he got his groove back this year, but I know he can be even better if he just plays hard every night.
Elise- GRADE: B Had a better season than last year and definitely played better, but could definitely still improve. It's the same story as always with Havlat: he has the skills but he doesn't always put forth the full effort. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll all come together next year for him, or at least continue improving. He's the closest thing to a sniper the Wild have so it'd be nice to get some more goals from him.
Dan- GRADE: B+ Last season, he was a non-factor. This season, he is one of the Wild's top scoring threats (not that we have many...). The Wild signed him on a long-term deal hoping he would help soften the blow of losing Marian Gaborik and this season, he has done that and more. Expected to play alongside Latendresse, he is tied for the leading scorer without the presence of his expected linemate.
Bryan- GRADE: B Havlat tied for the team lead in scoring with Mikko Koivu at 62 points. His effort was questioned a few times, and every line he was on was broken up. Is it inconsistency? Lack of 100% effort on every shift? I'm not sure. He is still missing something, and I am not sure what it is. He has the talent, he has the hockey sense, he just needs to take it up one notch and he could be a true superstar. He certainly didn't fail, but the frustration is there. He needs to step up and lead, not follow, and he can earn himself the A.
Nathan- GRADE: A-. Forced to shuffle linemates, carry the brunt of the offensive load, never paired with another true goalscorer which would suit his style, Havlat still was the single best player on the roster night in and night out. An all-star (more deserving than Brent Burns), he still had periods where he would let up a bit, but with his talent he's able to make up for it. As for the periodic lack of effort and revolving door of linemates and Havlat's seemingly petulant response, I'm guessing it was a personal issue with Richards, as that rumor has been burning since they joined the team. With Richards being jettisoned will Havlat be let off the leash? Let's hope so. Get Guillaume Latendresse healthy or give him a season with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and we're looking at an 85 point season.
Cumulative GPA: 3.2 B
Sorry, it's still funny.