|General Manager Dale Tallon announced this afternoon that the Blackhawks have acquired center Michal Handzus from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for left wing Kyle Calder. |
"In Michal Handzus, we were able to acquire a big, strong center who is an excellent two-way player," said Tallon. "We felt we needed a big centerman to play against other big centers in the Western Conference. We also feel that Michal is a guy who will be able to get the puck to Martin Havlat. We feel that a line of Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus, and Tuomo Ruttu is a pretty good line. In the off-season we identified the center position as one we needed to strengthen and we feel we have addressed that need."
Handzus, 29, stands at 6.05 and weighs in at 217 pounds. Last season, he played in 73 games for Philadelphia scoring 11 goals while adding 33 assists for 44 points with 38 minutes in penalties. Handzus logged 18:28 minutes per game for the Flyers and took many face-offs in key situations. In fact, he was the leading face-off man for the Flyers winning 53.2% of his draws to rank 18th in the NHL. He also appeared in 6 playoff games for the Flyers posting 2 assists.
A native of the Czechosolvakia, Handzus was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues as their 3rd choice (101st overall) in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He broke into the NHL with St. Louis in the 1998-99 season appearing in 66 games scoring 4 goals and 16 points.
After two and a half seasons in St. Louis, Handzus was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes along with Ladislav Nagy, Jeff Taffe, and a first round pick for Keith Tkachuk on March 13, 2001. Handzus played two seasons in Phoenix before being traded to Philadelphia along with Robert Esche for Brian Boucher and a third round pick on June 12, 2002.
Handzus has scored 20+ goals three times in his NHL career including a career-high 25 goals in the 1999-2000 season with St. Louis. He also has recorded 20+ assists five times including a career-high 38 assists in 2003-04 with Philadelphia.
In his NHL career, Handzus has appeared in 509 games scoring 112 goals while adding 180 assists for 292 points. He has scored 19 career power play goals, 11 career shorthanded goals, and 20 career game winning goals. In playoff competition, Handzus has appeared in 60 career games scoring 7 goals while adding 18 assists for 25 points. He also has a 52.1% career face-off winning percentage.
Handzus has a wealth of experience in International competition. He represented Slovakia in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games appearing in two games and scoring 1 goal. He also helped Team Slovakia to their first ever Gold Medal in the IIHF World Championships in Sweden also in 2002. He has represented Team Slovakia at the World Championships twice ( 2000 and 2002) and at the World Junior Championships twice (1996 and 1997).
Kyle Calder, 27, was the Blackhawks' 7th choice (130th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, he played in 79 games scoring 26 goals while adding 33 assists for 59 points with 52 penalty minutes. His 26 goals and 59 points were career highs.
In his NHL career, Calder has appeared in 359 games scoring 85 goals and adding 125 assists for 210 points. He has appeared in 5 career playoff games scoring 2 goals with 2 penalty minutes.
In International competition, Calder was a member of Team Canada in the 1999 World Junior Championships and captured a Silver Medal. He also played for Team Canada on two World Championship Teams (2002 and 2003) capturing a Gold Medal in 2003.