The Minnesota Wild and winger Marian Gaborik have finally parted ways after 9 extremely rocky seasons. When it was good it was really good and when it was bad it was really bad. I'm referring of course to fan support for Gaborik over those 9 seasons. While I myself am a very open Blues fan I do live in Minnesota and have my whole life so obviously I watch a lot of Wild games and follow the team reasonable close and my opinion has always stayed the same about Marian which is that he is an offensive force and after the big three (Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin) he can be as good offensively as anybody in the league, BUT he only managed to play four full seasons in nine years for the Wild. To me a full season is 75+ games. So I can see why some Minnesota fans are happy about the arrival of Martin Havlat and the exit of Marian Gaborik but why exactly are some fans SO excited?
Last time I checked Martin Havlat hasn't been the poster boy for good health. He's played in eight NHL seasons and, to my standards, has had one full season. The good news is that his first ever 75+ season came last year with the Hawks the bad news that comes with that is the fact that he played a lot of third line hockey last year. He won't be a third liner for the Wild, second line is as far as he'll be allowed to drop so his ice time is going to increase and the wear and tear on his body will be more this year than last year. To me that equals a very risky signing.
Now to some stat comparisons.
I have to say that Martin Havlat is one of my favorite NHL players, I think he's really impressive offensively and his goal against Columbus two seasons ago was brilliant and showed how dominant he can be offensively. Then last year happened and my fanhood for him shrank a little bit. I always talked Havlat up big to my friends and always said that when he played a full season he was going to go nuts and have 90+ points and 50 goals. Well he did play a full season last year and not only did he not even hit 80 points he didn't even hit the 30 goal mark. So yeah my feeling about his offensive game has changed a bit. I mean three years ago when he played 56 games with the Hawks he netted 25 goals and last year with 25 more games played he only scored 4 more goals than that 56 game campaign. With that being said he is still a very above average winger offensively.
Now onto Marian Gaborik. Last year Gaborik only played in 17 games but in those 17 games he netted 13 goals and had 23 points. The season prior to last he played in 77 games and had 42 goals and 41 assists and that is one hell of a season. Gaborik has had 5 30 or more goal seasons in 9 years, not too shabby if you ask me. A lot of people who I have debated with have brought up the fact that they think Havlat is a much better two way player and all I have to say to that is that Gaborik is a plus 54 in his career so Im not sure Havlat is that much better defensively than Gabby.
In the end both Gaborik and Havlat get hurt A LOT and they both are REALLY good offensively. Only one of them has had a 40 goal season and only one has had more than one full healthy season. That one is Marian Gaborik. The conclusion I've made which was probably sensed the entire time is that I would take Marian Gaborik over Martin Havlat if I was starting a team from scratch. With all of that said and done I hope both players dominate next year for their respective teams so that we can really compare two full season for each in the same year and really see who without a doubt is the better winger.