Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman talked about looking for depth guys to bolster his roster with the trade deadline approaching. He got one by acquiring veteran center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks, the Hawks announced Monday evening.
The Sharks will receive a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft in return.
Handzus, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season, has only two points and is a minus-9 in 28 games this season. However, Handzus is winning better than 55 percent of his faceoffs, a key need for the Blackhawks, who are 18th in the League in faceoffs at 49.9 percent.
"We talked for a while about our desire to get bigger and have a centerman," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "I think looking at our team right now, we've been real happy with the way the young players have played., in particular Kurger and Shaw. But when you get to playoff time, I think it's good to have some experience and some depth at center. Michal accomplishes those."
Where exactly Handzus will play will ultimately be decided by Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, but Bowman was intrigued by his new player's ability to play either center or on the wing.
"The strength of our team has been the ability of guys to move around a little bit," Bowman said. "I think this year, more than any, we've had some stability in our lines. We've been healthy for the most part, which helps. But you have to be prepared in a playoff push to have guys be able to step up and play different positions. He's got the smarts and the experience to be able to play a couple of different positions. We'll let Joel sort that one out. It's nice as a coach to have the option to have a couple of different guys at positions."
As for more trades, Bowman didn't sound as though his club will be very busy between now and Wednesday's 3 p.m. (ET) deadline.
"There's not a lot of sellers … that's the bottom line," Bowman said. "There's not a lot of trades. There still isn't a whole lot of separation (in the standings)."
Handzus will fly to Chicago on Tuesday and join his new teammates on the ice for practice Wednesday. He'll also be reunited with Quenneville, who was his coach during his time with the St. Louis Blues from 1998-2001. Handzus also appeared in eight games for Chicago during the 2006-07 season.
"They have a great team," Handzus said of the Blackhawks. "Obviously, I know the coaching staff. I played for Joel. But I think the main thing is they're a great team."
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