TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported this afternoon that the Blackhawks had traded a fourth round draft pick to San Jose in exchange for center Michal Handzus. As I said here before and as was made obvious by the Blackhawks themselves, they really wanted to address their faceoff issues by acquiring a center who can win at the dot on a consistent basis.
Handzus, who is listed as 6’5″, 215 lbs., has won 55.6% of his faceoffs this year, which immediately makes him the second best guy at doing so on the Hawks’ roster. As for Handzus’ stats, they are not great to say the least. He has 1 goal and 1 assist this year, both of which came in the same game earlier this season (it was actually a game against the Hawks).
I’m not sure that Handzus is the number 2 center that the Blackhawks and us fans were looking for, but he adds depth and another option at the center position. It is unclear as to what line he will play on, but I can almost assure you that he will center their second powerplay group. With his ability to win faceoffs and his large body, he is a perfect guy to insert into that number 2 powerplay unit. I’d have to imagine that he will be used in front of the net to screen the goalie and clean up the rebounds.
Aside from his faceoff percentage and inevitable role on the second powerplay grouping, Handzus provides some much needed size to the Hawks’ lineup. His 6’5″ frame makes him the tallest guy on the Hawks and a tough guy to play against. I think that his physical stature will really become noticeable come playoff time.
I read earlier today that the Blackhawks were talking to Dallas about possibly making an offer for Jaromir Jagr. Like with Derek Roy, it sounds like the Stars want a prospect, draft pick, and roster player in return for Jagr. That’s a lot to give up, but if the Blackhawks think that it will be worth it for Jagr, he would be a huge addition to the lineup. This is only a rumor, so who knows what will happen in the next 48 hours.
Keep checking back here for any updates.