Sometimes I feel as though I’m the only one who feels this way. Perhaps I am. But I can’t get past the feeling that the signings of Handzus and Nagy have been profound disappointments. In September, I saw them as two-thirds of a potential strong second line, perhaps with Frolov or O’Sullivan on the other wing. They were supposed to have great chemistry together. Has anyone seen it yet?
Handzus, who got a four-year, $16-million contract, has one goal and three assists in 23 games. Nagy, who got a one-year, $3.75-million contract, has four goals and seven assists in 20 games. Not awful, but he has the potential to be a 20-goal scorer. As for Handzus, I understand that he’s still getting stronger after ACL surgery, and I believe he has played much better in his last few games.
I have a hard time believing, though, that the Kings are paying Handzus $4 million a year because he’s a valuable two-way, third- or fourth-line player. And I have a harder time believing they’re pleased with Nagy, especially since Marc Crawford made him a healthy scratch Sunday. I asked Crawford about this duo and here’s what he said:
“Handzus has always been regarded, by us, as a good two-way player and a guy that would, often times, match up against the top player, as he did yesterday against Getzlaf and like he did in San Jose against Thornton. Getzlaf scored the one goal, a very hard-working goal by them. There was no mistake made; they just made a good play. They got the puck to the net and he got his stick on the tip and we were in position all over the ice. So you have to give them that. Good players are going to score and they’re going to get opportunities. The other one was a 4-on-4 play and they got a break. Vis fell. I think that Handzus is really picking up his game. We’re starting to see him do what he was brought here for and he’s getting more and more comfortable playing for us and how we’re utilizing him.”
OK. How about Nagy?
“Well, Nagy didn’t play yesterday, so it’s hard to have an impact on the game when you’re in the press box. From that standpoint, he was the odd guy out. As we say to players, `You should always be concerned when you’re not playing,’ but there’s not much you can do about it. All you can do is come here and practice hard and be ready for your next opportunity. He most likely will be in the game against San Jose and we’re looking for him to respond as well as he did the last time he was sat out. I’m not sitting guys out to elicit a response. I’m sitting him out because I thought the other people gave us the best opportunity to win yesterday’s game.”