The San Jose Sharks got their third line penalty killing forward earlier this evening, signing former Los Angeles Kings centerman Michal Handzus about nine hours after free agency had begun. Getting a strong penalty killing forward was something that we highlighted as the Sharks biggest need this offseason considering the team finished last year 24th in the League shorthanded and did not retain Scott Nichol or Jamal Mayers, making this deal a solid and safe addition for San Jose.
This acquisition makes it a near certainty that Joe Pavelski will play in the Sharks top six forward group next season as the 34 year Handzus is a third line centerman who will not be expected to play anything resembling top six minutes at this stage in his career. He's a defensive forward with some scoring pop, notching 12, 20, 18, and 7 goals respectively during his last four seasons with the Kings. That being said, expecting Handzus to crack the 20 goal mark again playing on the Sharks third line is distinct reach-- a ten goal thirty point season should be the expectation heading into the year, with fifteen goals and forty points a pleasant surprise that will clearly be welcomed with open arms if it does occur.