Kris Versteeg was an important member of the 2010 Stanley Cup team for the Chicago Blackhawks. He was also part of the group of players that was expelled after that championship for cap reasons. Along with the likes of Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager, Versteeg was a guy that Chicago couldn’t afford moving forward.
They clearly still like him as a player though, as they’ve managed to bring him back for what amounts to nearly nothing.
The Florida Panthers had been using the versatile winger as a top-six player, but only acquired Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olson in return. To boot, CBS Sports is also reporting that the Panthers will retain half of Versteeg’s salary this season and over the next two years.
Barring the emergence of either Hayes or Olson, this is another coup for the ‘Hawks.
Versteeg isn’t going to come in and set the world on fire in Chicago, but they aren’t going to ask him to. The top-six is a pretty static group for the ‘Hawks right now, but they do need a guy that can play on the right side and that can kill penalties. Check and check. General managers Stan Bowman had this to say following the acquisition:
Looking at our team, we felt like adding one more versatile forward to our group [was important],” Bowman said. “Kris, we obviously know him well from his years here and his ability to play a couple different spots for us. He’s certainly capable of playing on the top line. He’s been doing that the last couple years in Florida, but we have a lot of depth at forward, so we can use Kris in a couple different places.
This appears to be another stealthy depth move for Bowman, who has made a habit out of picking up this kind of effective player for marbles over the last few seasons.
Versteeg is probably pretty stoked to move from the constantly rebuilding Florida Panthers to a Cup contender in Chicago, and he’ll make the already deep Blackhawks even deeper for a stretch run.