We talked recently about how tough it was to trade someone like Mark Bell. How difficult was it to move Kyle Calder?
They're all hard. These are guys who are very important to us -- good players and good guys. It's difficult, but it's part of the business. We're trying to improve and we had a weakness at center ice. We needed somebody big and strong that could pass the puck and play with Marty Havlat.
|--We had a few other offers, but we didn't shop Kyle.|
Philadelphia had a surplus of centers and a need on the wing. They approached us about a month ago or so about the possibility. We had a few other offers, but we didn't shop Kyle. Other teams had shown interest. We waited to see how things would develop. It was a long, arduous process with a lot of give and take and talk among our staff. It was a tough decision, but one we felt we had to make to get a center to play against the big centermen in the West and to get the puck down low to Marty Havlat.
Offensively, Handzus' numbers are comparable to Calder's. But just how important was it to get a guy who, as you said, could match up against the Joe Thorntons in the West?
That was the big key. When you see who Nashville and San Jose have and look at other teams in the West with big centerman, that was very important. He's a solid two-way player who played 18-and-a-half minutes of ice time on a good team in Philadelphia. With more ice time, we think he can produce even more because he's very unselfish and he's a good passer. He played with [Pavol] Demitra in St. Louis and Demitra had very good numbers that year.
You mentioned pairing Handzus with Havlat. Does he definitely have the speed and skill to center your top line?
|--With more ice time, we think he can produce even more because he's very unselfish and he's a good passer.|
Yes he does. He has the skill, that's for sure, and the size and strength. It's hard to knock him off the puck. He's a big guy, not a great skater but he's an average to better skater. With Havlat and [Tuomo] Ruutu on his wings, he can distribute the puck very well and he keep possession of it down low.
Have you talked to Michal? How does he feel about the trade?
He's very happy, very excited. I talked to him, and I also talked to Marty Havlat and he's pumped. They're both in Europe right now and they can't wait to get going.
You had four centers penciled in with Jonas Nordqvist coming over from Europe, Bryan Smolinski, Patrick Sharp and Denis Arkhipov. Should we expect one of those four to shift to wing now?
Smolinski can play the wing.
Email web producer Adam Kempenaar at: firstname.lastname@example.org.