The Sharks needed to address their 24th ranked penalty kill, and they did just that.
They signed center Michal Handzus to a two year contract worth $5M ($2.5M cap hit).
Handzus spent the last four seasons with the Kings. He centered the third line when everyone was healthy and provided great penalty killing. He’s decent in the faceoff circle as well, but not spectacular. He had 30 points last season, and he has seven seasons or 40 or more points in his career. In his four seasons in Los Angeles, he only missed one game.
The penalty kill really needed to be improved, and with Scott Nichol and Jamal Mayers out, the Sharks needed to get someone else. Handzus was one of the best penalty killing forwards available. He led all Kings’ forwards in shorthanded ice time in each of his four seasons there.
The big knock against Handzus is his speed, or lack thereof. He’s very slow, and the Sharks are a very slow team to begin with. He will center the third line with the Sharks, and he’ll be on the first penalty kill unit. He’ll have to have a lot of speed on the wings, and the Sharks don’t have much in the bottom six other than Jamie McGinn and Torrey Mitchell, who might be his linemates to open the season. Joe Pavelski will most likely move into the top six with this signing, unless the Sharks want Pavelski to play on the right wing on the third line. With Pavelski’s lack of speed, that is unlikely.
The cap hit is a little higher than I’d like (two years, $4.5M would be perfect), and the second year is questionable. But if those two things were not in the contract, he probably wouldn’t have came to San Jose. I liked Joel Ward better, but Handzus is a fine Plan B.