Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the San Jose Sharks have signed unrestricted free agent forward Michal Handzus to a two-year contract.
Handzus, 34, appeared in all 82 regular season games for Los Angeles last season and posted 30 points (12 goals and 18 assists). He led all Kings forwards in shorthanded time on ice per game, averaging 2:24 on the National Hockey League's fourth-best penalty kill. Handzus led the team in faceoffs taken and finished with a 51.9 percent faceoff percentage. He also had the second best shootout percentage on the Kings, converting 44.4 percent of his chances (4-of-9). In six playoff games against San Jose, Handzus posted two points (one goal).
Handzus is a strong two-way player, but his size and attention to defense makes him stand apart from a lot of other NHLers.
“He’s played against a lot of the top guys head-to-head and we think he's a very good addition for us,” Wilson said. “He's one of the top penalty killing forwards in this League and has the ability to play in any situation.”
That's not to say Handzus is not without his offensive talents as he posted a 20-goal campaign just two seasons ago.
“He can play in all areas and has shown he can score goals in this League,” Wilson said. “He also scores big goals and can go to the front of the net on the power play.”
Over the last four seasons with Los Angeles, Handzus has appeared in 327 out of a possible 328 contests, registering 135 points (57 goals and 78 assists). In his 12-year NHL career, he has posted 435 points (172 goals and 263 assists) in 844 career games with Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and St. Louis. Handzus also has 32 points (11 goals and 21 assists) in 72 postseason games, appearing in the playoffs eight times.
“He's a true professional. He trains very hard,” Wilson said. “He takes very good care of himself and we think he fits very well with this group and what we’re looking for.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Banska Bystrika, Slovakia was originally selected by St. Louis in the fourth round (101st overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.
“We obviously know this player very well having played against him,” Wilson said. “He's a very good hockey player. He’s big, responsible and a very good penalty killer.”