According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Blackhawks have notified Handzus he is not in their future plans. The Blackhawks acquired Handzus from the San Jose Sharks during the 2013 season and re-signed him to a one-year contract after he helped them win the Stanley Cup. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
37-year-old Handzus said on June 3 he was unsure whether he would be returning to the Blackhawks, playing elsewhere or possibly retiring.
“I don't know what will happen next year, but I still have the desire,” Handzus said of his future. “We'll see if I make it or not.
“It kind of makes you hungry. You’re disappointed right now. I know I haven’t played the way I would like to and am capable of. I still have the hunger and still love the game. I’ll just work really hard in the offseason. I know I can get my body in shape. We’ll see. I always said the last three years I’d do year by year. I don’t know what will happen next year, but I still have the desire. We’ll see if I make it or not.”
Handzus was disappointed in the way he performed in the playoffs this season. He had 11 points and was a plus-7 in the playoffs in 2013, but had just three points and was a minus-8 in the playoffs this season. He played a key role on the Blackhawks’ penalty kill throughout this season.
Handzus said he would remember his time with the Blackhawks fondly if he didn’t return.
“Obviously the best time,” Handzus said on June 3. “When you win a Cup somewhere, it’s obviously special and it’s always going to be special in my heart. Best group of guys I’ve been with for my career. It’s a great group. I think it’s a special group. A lot of fun last year and a lot of fun this year, too.
“Obviously right now we’re disappointed how it ended, and it kind of stinks, but a special group of guys and really good guys and really great organization. I had a blast.”