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.
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.
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
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?