Michal Handzus is not the answer. He isn’t close to the answer. The answer doesn’t take his calls.

Jonathan Willis
June 13 2014 09:07AM

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector had an article up on Thursday (h/t Lowetide) in which he considered the Oilers’ off-season plans through the lens of a discussion with Craig MacTavish. It’s a good piece, but the suggested additions range from the adequate to the truly horrifying.

In the last category is Michal Handzus.

Spector:

Up front they require help at first- or second-line centre, but that’s an unlikely prospect. A more reasonable hope would be some second- or third-line size, like a Daniel Winnik or perhaps a Michal Handzus.

Let’s talk a little about the season Handzus just had.

WOWY

Common Linemates Minutes Corsi Together Corsi Apart Difference
Patrick Kane 310 50.9% 56.9% -6.0%
Kris Versteeg 259 53.3% 54.7% -1.4%
Brent Seabrook 234 54.0% 57.3% -3.3%
Duncan Keith 230 55.1% 56.9% -1.8%
Patrick Sharp 217 53.0% 58.2% -5.2%
Niklas Hjalmarsson 207 50.6% 53.8% -3.2%
Nick Leddy 200 53.1% 57.8% -4.7%
Johnny Oduya 199 45.1% 54.4% -9.3%
Brandon Saad 107 55.2% 58.0% -2.8%
Sheldon Brookbank 102 43.2% 53.4% -10.2%

The above chart shows the 10 players who spent the most time with Michal Handzus last year, as well as their Corsi percentage with him and without him. Every one of them was better apart.

The Rest of It

Craig MacTavish10

Some of what we’re seeing above is the Jonathan Toews effect, but not nearly enough of it can be blamed on looking bad in the shadow of a superstar.

Handuzs ranked 10th among the Blackhawks’ regular forwards in Quality of Competition. He started more than 60 percent of his non-neutral zone shifts in the offensive end of the rink. Despite this, and despite playing regularly with Patrick Kane, he had one of the worst Corsi numbers on the team. Even that was better than the playoffs, where the exceptional Blackhawks were out-shot by a brutal 112-62 margin with Handzus on the ice.

Handzus’ scoring has also all but disappeared. He had four goals this year; he’s had six in his last 98 regular season games. At 37 years of age, it’s not likely that his scoring is about to reappear, either.

Where’s the upside here? Are the Oilers so arrogant as to believe that they can find a scoring touch in a player who couldn’t light the lamp with Patrick Kane on his wing? Do they think that a guy who got hammered on the Blackhawks in pretty much every statistical category is going to recover in Edmonton?

The Good News

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#51 Lochenzo
June 13 2014, 12:38PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

The Kings will be looking to dump salary this summer so that they can sign Gaborik. Kyle Clifford may be available again and under these circumstances he'll cost less to acquire than the Sam Gagner rumour earlier in the year.

Avatar
#52 TigerUnderGlass
June 13 2014, 12:58PM
Trash it!
22
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers

@ Willis

Good thing Handzus doesn't play in the Corsi Hockey League.

On another note: Handzus may not be the answer, but Hanzal would be a hell of a start.

Avatar
#53 Oiler Al
June 13 2014, 01:02PM
Trash it!
27
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

Pinizotto and Handzus, more bold moves from the illustrious Mac T.

Would be better off talking Smyth out of retirement.

Avatar
#54 JESSE
June 13 2014, 01:13PM
Trash it!
39
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

@Lochenzo

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

Avatar
#55 Spydyr
June 13 2014, 01:19PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
62
cheers
JESSE wrote:

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

You know really is totally doable.Turning off your caps lock.

Avatar
#56 vetinari
June 13 2014, 01:21PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers
JESSE wrote:

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

Unless you are Death or the Hockey Gods, please turn off the all-caps. It is really distracting. If you are Death or the Hockey Gods, then carry on.

EDIT: beat by Spydyr the Quick

Avatar
#57 Zarny
June 13 2014, 01:35PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers
oilleak wrote:

Coaching staff.. Eakins Ramsay and Oates.

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin.

Hall- Nuge-Yak

Bickell- couturier- eberle

Saad- Anisimov- perron

Gazdic/gordon- boyle- pitlcik/Hendricks

Klef- Schultz

Marincin- Stralman

Ference- Orpik

Nikitin/Fedun

I see "99" past the blunt to you.

The players you covet would certainly help the Oilers, but there is no reality where Petry gets you Couturier nor is Chicago going to trade Bickell and Saad for picks and prospects who are 4-5 years from contributing while they are in the middle of their window to win Cups.

Reality...trades have to actually be based in it.

Avatar
#58 VK63
June 13 2014, 02:03PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

whats with this junk on TSN 1260? If I'm a local advertiser I'd be like…. refund please.

Soccer.

yeesh.

ryan kessler thinks soccer guys dive.

Avatar
#59 ThatButthurtOilersFan
June 13 2014, 02:08PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
JESSE wrote:

WHO THEY SHOULD COVET FROM LA IS STOLLY, AWESOME AT FACEOFFS AND IS A SOLID DEFENSIVE CENTER WHO HAS A BIT OF SIZE AND THROWS HIS WEIGHT AROUND. ADD DWIGHT KING AND MATT GREENE. IF WE GIVE UP FERENCE, JOENSU AND A FEW PICKS IT IS TOTALLY DOABLE

On behalf of everyone here, turn off caps lock, please.

Avatar
#60 chris gallant
June 13 2014, 02:22PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Handzus from 10 years ago might help, but not the current version. YIKES!

As for Winnik. I've seen him listed as a center, but his faceoff % and # taken are Sam-Gagner-low. Is he really a center or maybe a winger in disguise? I'd still take a flyer on him, but maybe not pencilled in as faceoff help!

Avatar
#61 Will
June 13 2014, 02:24PM
Trash it!
36
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

With the potential trades going in for Spezza, the Oilers could easily put together a better package of a player, a prospect, and a pick. Reports are saying from the ducks guys like Bonino or Cogliano? Pffttttt. I think Edmonton could do better.

Gagner, Marincin, 2015 2nd rounder.

Then resign Hemsky and go grab either Heatly or Penner for your third line. Draft Draisaitl and give Yak some soft minutes on the third line.

Hall, Nuge, Ebs

Perron Spezza Hemsky

Penner Draisaitl Yak

Hendricks Gordon Pinnizotto

There. The average size of the team just took a huge leap forward. The team has three scoring lines with a great mix of vets and young skill. The top two lines could both really be a first line on almost any NHL team. And the pressure comes of Yak and our new shinny pick which both get some sheltered minutes on the 3rd line.

Sure the Defence is still miserable, but this is going to be a year where Mac T can fix the forwards or the defence, not both. And really what our defence needs most is time for our prospects to develop, so you might as well fix the forwards.

Avatar
#62 Zarny
June 13 2014, 02:46PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
33
cheers

@Will

First, Ottawa wants a 1st round pick not a 2nd.

Second, Spezza has no interest in going to any Canadian team let alone Edmonton.

Spezza, Kesler, Thornton etc...none of them are coming to Edmonton.

Avatar
#63 Harvey
June 13 2014, 03:04PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

So you're saying he is not the answer?

Avatar
#64 Will
June 13 2014, 03:16PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers
Zarny wrote:

@Will

First, Ottawa wants a 1st round pick not a 2nd.

Second, Spezza has no interest in going to any Canadian team let alone Edmonton.

Spezza, Kesler, Thornton etc...none of them are coming to Edmonton.

Meh, I'm not Spezza so I have no idea what he wants, or where he would want to play. Ottawa, is not going to get a player, a prospect and a first round pick for a guy who has one year left on his contract.

Avatar
#65 A-Mc
June 13 2014, 03:36PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Zarny wrote:

@Will

First, Ottawa wants a 1st round pick not a 2nd.

Second, Spezza has no interest in going to any Canadian team let alone Edmonton.

Spezza, Kesler, Thornton etc...none of them are coming to Edmonton.

How do you know that spezza has no interest in going to a canadian team?

Avatar
#66 Kevin
June 13 2014, 05:39PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
Oiler Al wrote:

Pinizotto and Handzus, more bold moves from the illustrious Mac T.

Would be better off talking Smyth out of retirement.

Yes- bold moves like these will for sure end up with us BOLDLY out of the playoff mix for another year and selecting in the top 5 again next year. This latest Katz hire is just another one of Lowe's buddy's with a great resume with Hockey Canada. Let's face it folks, Maggey the monkey can select a Team Canada team. They certainly don't need to add more insulation for six rings- they need to get rid of the cancer along with the rest of the boys club.

Avatar
#67 Serious Gord
June 13 2014, 05:47PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
PutzStew wrote:

Lets get one thing straight. Nicholson was not brought in to make this a winning team. If the powers that be wanted this team to be a winner, then Lowe would be gone, Bucky and Smith would be gone, They would have brought in a way more qualifies person to be GM intend of MacT, MacT would still be TSN, Atkins would be wrecking another team, Smyth would have been forced to retire at least one year earlier and Edmonton Tax payers would not be on the hook to help line Katz pockets for the next 35 plus years.

Nicholson did one thing very, very well with Hockey Canada. He turned a none profit entity into an extremely profitable source of income for many. That is why he was hired. To make more money. No other reason. It is all about money. Don let yourself be fooled.

Add to that that Nicholson is the pent ultimate Fokker acquisition - he is Katz and Lowe (and laforges) biggest friend in hockey canada. His hiring is the biggest addition to the Katz playground. And he will only protect Lowe and laforge - not move to replace them.

And he is the second of two 61 year old hires in a row. Difficult to see how they will reinvent and rejuvenate at this stage of their careers.

Avatar
#68 Fresh Mess
June 13 2014, 05:52PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
oilleak wrote:

Coaching staff.. Eakins Ramsay and Oates.

Trade petry for couturier Trade 2015 or 2014 1 round pick, musil, and 2015 2nd round pick for saad and bickell. Trade gagner for anisimov sign orpik, stralman, B. Boyle and or nikitin.

Hall- Nuge-Yak

Bickell- couturier- eberle

Saad- Anisimov- perron

Gazdic/gordon- boyle- pitlcik/Hendricks

Klef- Schultz

Marincin- Stralman

Ference- Orpik

Nikitin/Fedun

After you wake up, don't forget to ask your mum to wash your sheets.

Avatar
#69 Fresh Mess
June 13 2014, 06:04PM
Trash it!
15
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

What is happening to this country. Effeminate metrosexuals hand in hand with new Canadians going ape spit over freaking soccer.

Avatar
#70 Fresh Mess
June 13 2014, 06:23PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

That Pia Toscano is a prime slice.

Avatar
#71 Casey
June 13 2014, 06:28PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

Can Nicholson change the goal song? Who ever thought of pitbull as a goal song is out of their mind

Avatar
#72 Bituman
June 13 2014, 06:34PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Is the above TOI with or without? It seems to be the with following the link. But the without TOI is not shown.

The WOWY stat is not a very good one, especially on its own. It's Derek Zona's favorite for piling the "marde" on the likes of Gazdic, but many good players show bad WOWY stats. It's especially vulnerable to what statistically illiterate hockey writers in the Corsiverse like to call "sample size" problems.

You are comparing the CF% for the 310 minutes that Handzus played with Kane to the 710 minutes that Kane played with everyone else. Not a fair comparison, period.

Run the WOWY stats on Hall. They are also "marde". By your logic, Taylor Hall is not close to the answer either. Most players have higher CF% WITHOUT Hall. Smyth's CF% with Hall is 37.3; without it's 45.7.

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1341&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

Avatar
#73 TigerUnderGlass
June 13 2014, 06:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bituman wrote:

Is the above TOI with or without? It seems to be the with following the link. But the without TOI is not shown.

The WOWY stat is not a very good one, especially on its own. It's Derek Zona's favorite for piling the "marde" on the likes of Gazdic, but many good players show bad WOWY stats. It's especially vulnerable to what statistically illiterate hockey writers in the Corsiverse like to call "sample size" problems.

You are comparing the CF% for the 310 minutes that Handzus played with Kane to the 710 minutes that Kane played with everyone else. Not a fair comparison, period.

Run the WOWY stats on Hall. They are also "marde". By your logic, Taylor Hall is not close to the answer either. Most players have higher CF% WITHOUT Hall. Smyth's CF% with Hall is 37.3; without it's 45.7.

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1341&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

Luckily the question being asked wasn't, "how do Handzus and Kane play together?"

The sample size gets a lot bigger when you look at the rest of the results and oddly you get the same result, even for non-Patrick Kane level players. WOWY is only "vulnerable" to sample size if you are the type of person who demands a stat answer all of their questions at once. An examination of context is necessary for any number. If WOWY is so wrong about Hanzus please enlighten us with further information showing us why.

Re: Hall. He had a rough year possession wise. Why do so many people refuse to accept that? Funny how so many were calling for his head 20 games in.

Avatar
#74 Bituman
June 13 2014, 06:53PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Luckily the question being asked wasn't, "how do Handzus and Kane play together?"

The sample size gets a lot bigger when you look at the rest of the results and oddly you get the same result, even for non-Patrick Kane level players. WOWY is only "vulnerable" to sample size if you are the type of person who demands a stat answer all of their questions at once. An examination of context is necessary for any number. If WOWY is so wrong about Hanzus please enlighten us with further information showing us why.

Re: Hall. He had a rough year possession wise. Why do so many people refuse to accept that? Funny how so many were calling for his head 20 games in.

There's simply no evidence that with-without minutes are comparable. It's apples and oranges.

CORSI is an objective team metric. WOWY is nothing more than a spreadsheet opinion.

I have no problem accepting that Hall had a bad possession year. But I don't believe that he made Smyth "worse", whatever that means - this is a spreadsheet illusion. Just like Hall's turnover numbers. You know who else lead the Oilers in turnovers? Chris Pronger.

Avatar
#75 TigerUnderGlass
June 13 2014, 11:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Bituman wrote:

There's simply no evidence that with-without minutes are comparable. It's apples and oranges.

CORSI is an objective team metric. WOWY is nothing more than a spreadsheet opinion.

I have no problem accepting that Hall had a bad possession year. But I don't believe that he made Smyth "worse", whatever that means - this is a spreadsheet illusion. Just like Hall's turnover numbers. You know who else lead the Oilers in turnovers? Chris Pronger.

What an odd comment. Why would anyone using WOWY care about Hall's turnovers? It's irrelevant.

WOWY is not an opinion. It is a record of events which occurred on the ice. Nothing more.

Are you going to be able to provide any context to support your differing opinion on Handzus or not?

Avatar
#76 BlazingSaitls
June 14 2014, 02:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@Serious Gord

60 is the new 50, lol. The human-brain is a miraculous thing. Barring any ailments we can learn till the very end. We should all be so lucky to be active in a job one loves. Harper will raise retirement to 67-70 yrs soon so might as well do something you love :)

Quit being ageist dude. I felt this news was anti-climactic but its far from bad.

Avatar
#77 Don W
June 14 2014, 09:27AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

What about Sam Gagner for Mike Richards? Would save the Kings a million a year in cap and only 2 years on Gagners contract. Oilers get a 2 way center with experience who isn't over the hill and doesn't have a no trade but has a contract the kings likely want out of.

Comments are closed for this article.