According to various media reports, including TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Chicago Blackhawks have acquired San Jose Sharks' center Michal Handzus for a 4th round pick. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Handzus had a brief stint with the Blackhawks during the 2006-07 campaign, but his season was cut short when he suffered a season ending knee injury. He only played 8 games (8 points) with the Blackhawks.
While the move certainly addresses the need for a center that can win faceoffs (55.6%), it remains to be see where Handzus will be slotted when he skates for the Blackhawks. While he's had success in his career as a 2nd line center, it seems that those days have passed him by. He's only recorded 2 points in 28 games this season, and has recently been a healthy scratch. I suspect the Hawks will give him a chance to center Patrick Kane and Jimmy Hayes / Patrick Sharp at some point, but expecting him to have success on that line could be a mistake. At 36, the offensive part of his game looks to be gone. Handzus will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Handzus did lead all Sharks forwards in shorthanded time on ice. He's a solid penalty killer, and will be a real asset to that unit.
Summarizing, the Hawks acquire a penalty killing, faceoff winning center, but haven't quite solved the 2C slot just yet. The NHL's trade deadline is Wednesday. It will be interesting to see what else Stan Bowman and company have in store.
To make room for Handzus, the Blackhawks have sent winger Brandon Bollig to Rockford.