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.

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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.


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

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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


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  • Sean17

    Spector is a moron. He is the epitome of a talking head. Says nothing, knows nothing. Spouts off stupid comments about a game he has never even played. Truly one of the worst broadcasters. I always FWD through his garbage on Sportsnet.

  • Sean17

    I am truly scared of what Sportsnet NHL coverage will be like when they have guys like Spector, Lawton and Kyperos on the payroll. Oh and the best big mouth, Doug Maclean. What a piece of crap. It is really amateur hour on that network. Hopefully they weed out those d-bags, weed out PJ Stock and Healy from CBC and shoot Maguire. Get Freidman, Mackenzie and Draeger.

    • Bloodsweatandoil

      Well said Sean17,

      I’m not a fan of Ferraro either. To think of it,I cannot stand the in-between the benches bantor. Ferraro talks down to the audience and tries to educate everybody, while Healy doesnt know what side of the fence he sits on and over talks the game commentator constantly.

      For a 58 billion dollar monopoly, how much more are us viewers going to have to pay to watch hockey and cover Roger’s investment, I dont think advertising will cover that.

      • Sean17

        I actually don’t mind Ferraro, but he has gotten more arrogant on TSN. You’re right Healy is always trying to cut-off the play-by-play crew to say something stupid.

        • John Chambers

          Ferraro’s arrogance, IMO, is part of his charm and what makes him a good commentator. He seems really engaged and for whatever reason I find his criticisms of coaches, players, teams, to be astute and, at any rate, more entertaining than when Pierre McGuire does it.


    Terry Jones should not be allowed to ask questions during a press conference.

    “Uuuuhhh… umm.. Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun…..(stupid joke) … (wheezy laugh) …. uuuuhhhh… ummm… (long-winded question completely unrelated to the reason for the press conference)…. (annoying throat clearing/teeth sucking) .. “

  • vetinari

    I don’t know who selected the headline but I laughed out loud. Well done gentle scribes.

    But yes, I agree, Handzus would be the new Belanger– the place where Corsi goes to die. Maybe if you combined him with Gagner (on the wing) and Yakupov, the negative effects that each would have on the other would create a black hole of puck possession and swallow up the entire opposing team.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    this is what i’m concerned with when it comes to the Oilers. they absolutely MUST not get into the mentality that signing other team’s castoffs will make the Oilers better! don’t care if Handzus is “big” or not, please don’t sign this guy just because he’s available, please be choosy and don’t make a rushed, panicked decision.

  • Zarny

    Watched the presser re Nicholson, just shook my head when KL crowned the greatest man in hockey and that he would continue on as POHO. Oiler domination to follow ?? My ass !!

  • Zarny


    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.

  • BlazingSaitls

    I read an article about how a new study suggests that men’s faces evolved to be punched. Men’s faces look different from women’s because their ancestors evolved to survive being punched during fights a new study suggests.

    By 2025 Oilers fans will all have indestructible washboard stomachs, regardless of beer intake. Oilers fans midsection will become evolved to be very different from those of other hockey fans due to taking repeated gut shots from our favorite team. This evolutionary adaption will be key to the survival of Oilers fans.

    #ThanksKevin I always wanted 6 pack abs.

  • Zarny

    Truly horrifying is an understatement regarding the Oilers acquiring Michal Handzus.

    If Handzus was 30 there would be merit to the suggestion. He’s not. He’s 37 and you can time him with a sundial. He had a good run but he’s done.

    The Oilers need to find a C like Handzus but still in his prime…like Martin Hanzal.