The Chicago Blackhawks acquired center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks Monday for a fourth-round draft pick in 2013. Handzus played in eight games for the Blackhawks in 2006-07 before a knee injury kept him off the ice for the majority of the season.
Handzus spent four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings before joining the Sharks for the 2011-12 season. In 28 games this year, Handzus has just one goal and one assist.
Handzus was a healthy scratch for the past six games for the Sharks, who have won five straight games and hold the sixth position in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks have the best record in the NHL and are four points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for the top spot in the West.
The Blackhawks have been looking to add some depth at center and have found their guy in Handzus. The 36-year-old has a 55.6 percent faceoff success rate this season and adds experience to a young and talented team.
Chicago is set to make a run at the Stanley Cup and look to have finalized their roster going into the last month of the season. To free up roster space for Handzus, the Blackhawks sent down winger Brandon Bollig to the Rockford Ice Hogs of the American Hockey League.
Handzus is currently in the final year of a 2-year, $5 million contract and will become a free agent this upcoming offseason. The move for Handzus comes as the Blackhawks have been without Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp for the past few games and could use some offensive support.
Hossa has missed six straight games and Sharp has missed 11 straight, both due to upper-body injuries. Outside of losing two of their top forwards, the Blackhawks also lost center Dave Bolland in Monday night’s contest with the Nashville Predators.
The Blackhawks went on to edge the Predators 3-2 in a shootout for their second straight win and next meet the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. Chicago has beaten the Blues in both meetings this season, and the two teams play three more times before the end of April.
Does Michal Handzus give the Blackhawks depth at center? Can he make an immediate impact in Chicago after sitting out the past six games for the Sharks?
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