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Center Michal Handzus leaves Kings for San Jose Sharks

July 1, 2011 |  6:07 pm

Handzus Still waiting for word on where the Kings stand in their pursuit of Brad Richards. The sides are still talking but no decision yet.

However, one team is out: the St. Petersburg (FL) Times reports the Tampa Bay Lightning got word Richards won’t be returning there, mostly for financial reasons.

In the meantime, the Kings have lost center Michal Handzus to the San Jose Sharks for a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per year. He had 12 goals and 30 points in 82 games last season and was a stalwart defensively, on faceoffs and on the penalty-killing unit, deservedly winning fans with his perseverance and work ethic.

But the Kings, who have depth at center following last week’s acquisition of Mike Richards and need more speed, felt they could promise him only limited minutes next season. The 34-year-old Slovakian evidently thought San Jose would be a better situation.

“Michal is an extremely skilled player that has a great mix of size and competitiveness,” Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson said in a news release. “He is one of the top penalty-killing forwards in this league and has the ability to play in any situation.”

Earlier Friday the Kings lost free-agent winger Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Carolina Hurricanes on a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

We’ll keep you posted on Brad Richards and anything else that happens…


Kings optimistic after "all-in" presentation to Brad Richards

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-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Michal Handzus. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times