Going into this offseason, our management has a lot of descisions to make, including whether or not to resign Handzus. There are many factors that DL will take into consideration before making a desision. Such as: Zus has been here with us since '07-08 season so he knows the system, he is a good player and a solid 3rd line center, he makes way too much for the role we have him in, we have multiple younger and possibly better centers vying for a roster spot, and how unless Zus is willing to take a paycut we may or may not have the cap space to sign someone like Parise after all of our big resignings this summer. These are just a few factors, but they are all good to think about.
If we don't resign Handzus:
1) We have young centers like Loktionov, Schenn, Lewis, and Moller (to name a few) who would gladly and quickly take Handzus's spot. Undoubtedly, at least one of these young centers is ready for the NHL, especially Moller who has a lot of NHL experience already.
2) There will be a "hole", so to speak, until Handzus's replacement gets used to TM's system and gets some chemistry with his linemates. This could be fast or slow depending on the player; but the real question here is, is the organization willing to have that gap in quality play, or will they try to resign Zus and then ease one of these centers into NHL play?
3) Obviously, I would love to see Schenn or Moller step up into the role, but will TM allow them to settle in before getting on their case? TM says Moller is too small, well Quisp proved that he is doing great in his Short People, Last Chances post. TM might say that Schenn is too young or inexperienced, that might be, but how do you expect a player to get NHL level experience in the AHL? This is all what could possibly happen in my viewpoint because it seems like TM gives younger players a harder time or won't even really give them a good chance.
4) We will have more cap room. This will help in resigning our RFA's like Doughty, but it could also go towards getting a scorer we need like Parise or Tanguay. With $4 million in cap freed up, there's a lot of possibilities.
5) We would be moving to our younger players again, which is fine with me. With a younger team, we would have more speed and possibly more skill. Handzus's skill would be hard to replace, if that is even what we are going for. If we do let him walk, then we might be moving towards a faster team, less grinding, and less board play. If you think about it, Zus is one of those players that really sets the tone of play for a line; he's big, smart, and resourceful.
If we do resign Handzus:
1) We would be getting a great player back, he knows the system, he plays hard, and he always plays a solid grinding game.
2) Our cap will be affected, but I'm assuming he will take a paycut. Realistically, it will probably still be somewhere around $3 million, but I would love to see Zus take a contract of $2 to $2.5 million. That being said, this would limit our cap space again and we would have a difficult time resigning everybody AND getting a scorer.
3) DL and TM would be fully commiting to the grind game, this is our chance to move to a slightly more open game if we don't resign him. If we do sign Zus, it will be good for our defensive game, but not much of a change offesively. TM would love to get Zus back for his style of play, but DL might not be too keen if Zus won't take a paycut.
4) This would be effectively saying that DL doesn't have faith that any one of our young centers doesn't have what it takes to play in the NHL right now. Obviously, it could be looked at from another viewpoint, that DL wants Zus to teach Moller/Schenn how TM's system works.
With this all being said, there are a lot of possibilites and we shall see what happens soon. I believe that DL will try to resign Zus for a 1 year-$3 million contract, and if that falls through, then it's not a real problem for DL for he has a ton of quality players coming up. The descision on Handzus could really affect our team, there are positives and negatives if he walks, but at this point I think the positives outweigh the negatives and we don't need Zus (although I still would love to have him).