After missing the first 12 games of the year, San Jose forward Martin Havlat will make his season debut tonight against the Kings in Los Angeles, according to CSN Bay Area.
Havlat, 32, underwent major groin surgery (bilateral pelvic reconstruction) in late June to correct an injury suffered during San Jose’s opening-round playoffs series against Vancouver. Havlat tried to return for the second round against L.A., but lasted just a few minutes in his first game back and didn’t play again.
A skilled winger that put up 27 points in 39 games in 2011-12, Havlat’s biggest issue throughout the last two years has been staying healthy.
He’s missed 51 of a possible 130 games over the last two regular seasons, and his inability to stay in the lineup sparked talks of a possible trade or buyout (the latter of which he was ineligible for this summer, as he was injured at the time.)
Havlat has two seasons remaining on his six-year, $30 million deal, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $6 million.
While Havlat is in, San Jose’s three other injured players — Dan Boyle, Brent Burns and Matt Nieto — will be out tonight against the Kings. It’s possible Havlat will take Nieto’s spot on the third line with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels, while James Sheppard continues to fill in for Burns on the top line with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl.