Clock keeps ticking on Havlat contract talks

Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

This could be a key week in the Blackhawks’ attempt to re-sign Martin Havlat before the veteran winger becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.Hawks general manager Dale Tallon plans to speak face to face with Havlat’s agent, Alan Walsh, this week in Montreal while there for the entry draft.

“We’ve still got time, but not a lot of time,” Tallon said Monday. “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep him.”

The lengthy negotiations indicate there are obvious differences in what Havlat feels he’s worth and what the Hawks are willing to pay and for how long. Should Havlat reach unrestricted free agency on July 1, it is believed there would be a number of teams interested, including Montreal, Edmonton and the New York Islanders.

The closer it gets to July 1, the better the chances become of Havlat testing the free-agent waters to see what other clubs believe he is worth.

“It’s all part of the process,” Tallon said. “When you’re about to become a free agent it’s only natural to maybe want to see what other opportunities are out there. We’ll know by July 1 what direction we’ll be going.”

Tallon said there is no deadline to sign Havlat, but the Hawks likely will look to go another direction in terms of finding a scorer should Havlat not be signed in the days leading up to July 1.

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