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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

    • Zarny

      Puff, puff, give man; don’t bogart that J. It sounds like primo sh*t if you think there is a reality where Phx parts with OEL for a collection of maybes.

      This isn’t NHL 14. Volume doesn’t compensate for quality.

      If, and it’s a ginormous IF, Phx or any team trades arguably a top 10 D in the league it will cost Edmonton a core component like Eberle or at the very least Yakupov plus the 3rd overall this year and/or the 2015 1st round pick.

  • Oilers21

    The Jeff Carter vs Michael Handzus matchup was one of the reasons why Chicago lost to LA. Jeff Carter lit them up until they moved Handzus off the Kane line.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Spydyr

    Kevin Lowe has been named Vice-Chairman of the new organization, and will continue to play a leadership role with the organization’s Hockey Operations. Patrick LaForge has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of OEG and will be responsible for the group’s business operations.

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

    Full press release here:

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=722586&navid=DL|EDM|home

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Nicholson is the perfect addition to the management team.

    Ramsey is the perfect addition to the coaching staff.

    Marchand and Kulemin would be the perfect additions to the third line.

    • paul wodehouse

      Nicholson is named vice chairman of Entertainment for OEG…he’s the one who’s gonna hire the new DJ so Oiler fan dancing can follow and dominate

    • PutzStew

      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.

      • Serious Gord

        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.

        • BlazingSaitls

          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.

    • Harry2

      Why do yu continue to add better players to edms roster than they currntly have and proceed to bury them on the 3rd line?

      Marchand wouls instantly be our new #2 RW. Get a grip

  • PutzStew

    Hey Jonathan

    Thank for another very good read. You did use fancy stats but just enough to state your point and not take over the article. Please teach some of your less talented colleges how to do this.

    And while I agree with you, They will overpay him and bring him in and he will enjoy a slack retirement type of job, while the fans trash him. That’s the way it goes here.

  • Handzus at league minimum to be the fourth-line center is one thing, and actually a decent fit for a team looking to add experience and actual NHLers. Handzus at more than that for a 2nd-3rd line role is insanity. It only worked for Chicago that one year because he was a deadline pickup in a shortened season and he played with Kane, Sharp and co. and it hid most of his huge gaping flaws.

    As a Hawks and Oilers fan, this is not what I was hoping for when I envisioned any kind of talent swap between these teams.

  • 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 !!

  • BLAKPOO

    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) .. “

  • paul wodehouse

    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

    • Spydyr

      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. Then wake up you are dreaming.

    • Zarny

      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.

  • Spydyr

    Spec has been too close to Jason Negative. Both think Handzus is a 2C.

    Their belief is “Every player on every team is better than any Oiler.”

    Look at Ht + Wt and Ignore stats + facts.