Thread: Recalled/Assigned: 1/5 Wingells recalled; White to IR
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01-05-2012, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Les Wynan View Post
So point totals are all that matter? When Handzus has been on the ice this season, the Sharks have been outshot 441-344 (including missed and blocked shots, for and against) meaning he's spent a disproportionate percentage of his shifts in his own zone. That would be somewhat acceptable if he were lining up against Henrik Sedin and Pavel Datsyuk and Ryan Getzlaf every night but he's not. He's playing against scrubs and is being dominated territorially, especially when you consider the fact that he's one of just 3 Sharks to have been outshot this year (the others being Demers, who has sucked, and Douglas Murray, who's excusable since he was playing the toughest minutes on the team before his injury).

Those shots against will turn into minuses soon enough. Niemi and Greiss have posted a 0.946 SV% at even strength behind Handzus this season. Only four players in the entire NHL sustained an on-ice SV% that high by the end of last year (all fourth liners who exclusively played against other fourth liners) and even if Handzus is able to get that lucky he's costing the team by losing the possession battle so sorely -- 52% of his shifts have ended in the defensive zone, forcing Thornton and Couture to begin their shifts there more often which is an obvious and significant disadvantage.

It's highly unlikely a halfway decent replacement for Handzus playing the same role would get dominated to such an extent. Wellwood was phenomenal in that role last season and he's hardly an elite player. Obviously Handzus isn't the only guy on the ice at even strength but it's telling that McGinn and Mitchell have been significantly better possession-wise when they've been split from Handzus (as I alluded to earlier, neither has been outshot at even strength) while Handzus has been considerably worse. In an ideal world, Handzus and Mitchell are both gone but Handzus has undoubtedly been worse this season, especially when you take into consideration his terrible penalty killing.
How much of those statistics can be attributed to his line-mates? For shots taken for/against, it's not like he's the only forward on the ice. He's played a good portion of the season with Mitchell and McGinn, both sub-par defensive and possession players. Their numbers could be skewed considering both of them played some games with the first and second lines whereas Handzus has always been the 3rd line center playing with whoever is left.
As for the PK, hasn't he been paired with Thornton on a consistent basis? Thornton is an average PKer at best, which again, could skew Handzus' numbers.

Originally Posted by Les Wynan View Post
Good question on Mitchell. I think that's definitely been the case as when he's been split from Handzus he's played with Thornton/Pavelski mostly but in those instances Handzus usually saw time with either Havlat or Marleau.
And Handzus' numbers probably rose significantly when paired with Havlat or Marleau.

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