With the season now finished, I’ll be reviewing the individual performances of Chicago Blackhawks players and giving out grades based on their play during the 2013-14 season. In this article, I’ll take a look at Michal Handzus.
Handzus had a dreadful regular season for Chicago, registering just 16 points in 59 games while playing primarily a second line role as Patrick Kane‘s center. Handzus’ effectiveness was in many cases tied to Kane’s in the negative direction, with the word “anchor” often being unceremoniously (but accurately) attached to his name. The numbers backed it up; Kane’s offensive production was far better with every other center he played significant minutes with, including Brandon Pirri, Jonathan Toews, Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger.
The eye test didn’t do Handzus any favors, and this was true during the 82-game campaign, as well as the postseason. He was by far the slowest player on Chicago’s roster, which led to issues at both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice. Furthermore, even when he did catch up to the play, his questionable balance and declining puck skills proved problematic.
Handzus’ troubles are, to be fair, largely attributable to the stubbornness of Joel Quenneville, who insisted on having Handzus play a role (second line center) that he clearly wasn’t suited for. Had Quenneville elected to use Handzus only as a fourth line and penalty killer, the tone here would almost certainly be a good deal more positive.
Nevertheless, we evaluate what we have in front of us, and Handzus was unconscionably awful all year long. His general lack of effectiveness earns him an F.