On November 14, the Florida Panthers traded Kris Versteeg to the Chicago Blackhawks. The forward had been one of the guys that Chicago was forced to trade following the 2009-10 Stanley Cup win. Versteeg was moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs that summer, where he was expected to fill a top-six role.
He only lasted 53 games in Toronto, and he was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers that same season. His rights were then moved to the Florida Panthers, where he struggled to discover his offensive form after an electrifying first year with the franchise. Then Chicago came knocking, re-acquiring the forward for Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen.
Since donning the Blackhawks jersey once again, Versteeg has settled in nicely while playing 15 minutes a night as a talented depth forward. He has three goals and seven assists in 15 games with Chicago and is playing rock solid hockey for a team he probably never wanted to leave in the first place.
Versteeg was turned into a bit of a fall guy for the Panthers following their awful 4-11-4 start, and he’s still not quite sure why Florida moved him in the first place. He spoke to Harvey Fialkov of the Florida Sun-Sentinel and theorized as to why he was traded:
[Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon] said he had to do it and pretty much that was it. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the real reasons are, and for myself to even guess at them would be a bad thing. I know when I was healthy there and was playing good hockey I helped their team do some good things. Dale and me have had a good relationship for a long time Maybe they put the finger on me to get the boys fired up or whatever…
The loss of one team—Florida in this case—has been a boon for another though, and Chicago’s third line has been much more effective since Versteeg was brought back into the fold.