Meanwhile, players from nearly every team are jumping ship in preparation for a season without competition in the NHL and heading overseas. The San Jose Sharks are a team with many players now focused on helping their team win in another country. Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, among others, are players that have had great success in Switzerland. Couture has been a consistent contributor for Geneva, and Thornton is meshing well with close friend Rick Nash with HC Davos.
However, there is another side to the NHL lockout, and Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat are currently going through it.
Clowe is currently practicing with the San Francisco Bulls, the Sharks’ minor league affiliate, but has yet to play a game for the team. He was even coaching behind the bench in a game last week.
Martin Havlat is another player who has yet to commit to a team overseas, despite several teams coveting his services.
Free agency and health may be what is stopping these two players from playing elsewhere during the NHL lockout. Clowe will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, and it would be wise to be at full health when a team comes calling. In the same way, Havlat's health has been an issue since throwing on the the teal.
That is to not say the Sharks won’t come calling, too. Clowe and Havlat both had relative off-years last season, with Havlat going down with an injury and only being able to play in 39 games for the Sharks. In the same way, Clowe’s numbers decreased substantially from a breakout 2010-11 campaign in which he had 24 goals and 38 assists. In 2011-12, he had 17 goals and 28 assists in nearly the same amount of games.
With the season all but lost, it is time for the players to think about the future and what is best for them and their career. For Clowe and Havlat, the future could be a major reason for why they are a bit hesitant for competition shortly before free agency.
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