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

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

  • Zarny

    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.

    • A-Mc

      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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Zarny

    @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.

  • 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.

      • BlazingSaitls

        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?

  • BlazingSaitls

    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.