Sharks trade Handzus to Chicago for 4th rounder

Ryane Clowe is still a Shark but Michal Handzus isn't as Doug Wilson turns another replacement-level player into futures ahead of the trade deadline.

Presumably this wasn't the slow-moving veteran forward on an expiring contract many were expecting the Sharks to trade today but, per Bob McKenzie, Doug Wilson has shipped Michal Handzus back to Chicago:

Handzus was in the final season of a two-year, $5 million contract he signed with the Sharks as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2011 and presumably waived his no-trade clause to return to the team he played eight games for alongside Martin Havlat in 2006. In Handzus, the Blackhawks get one of the best shootout specialists in the history of the skills competition and, well, not much else. Handzus' debut season in teal was marred by off-ice tragedy after the Lokomotiv plane crash claimed the life of his close friend Pavol Demitra. On the ice, Handzus was arguably the Sharks' single-worst forward last year, dragging down each and every one of his linemates at even-strength while providing very little value to a penalty kill unit he was brought in to assist. While Handzus' shorthanded performance improved a bit this season, he remained an awful territorial player at evens who provided no offense to speak of despite being used in even easier minutes. It isn't a coincidence that the Sharks' recent run of improved play has come with him chained to the press box and Douglas Murray skating for the Penguins.

Wilson's tenure as GM is certainly not beyond reproach but the moves he's made in the past week that have resulted in the Sharks turning their two worst players into three positive-value assets have been masterful. Committed to his rejection of a formal "Cup window," he's managed to turn San Jose's trash into, well, not treasure but draft picks that certainly stand a better chance of helping the franchise long-term than either Murray or Handzus would have for the remainder of this season. Shipping out these players, particularly Murray, is also addition by subtraction as far as the team's push for the playoffs and postseason hopes are concerned. It's unclear whether the pick coming to San Jose will be the Sharks' own selection that they traded to the Blackhawks on the draft floor last year or the Hawks' pick (Update: Per Kevin Kurz, it's the Sharks' original pick) but getting anything at all for a player the Sharks weren't going to use has to be considered a win.