The calendar has finally turned to September and so it’s time to bring back one of our traditional favorites over/under. We predict the Blackhawks players stats and you tell us if you think they will go over or under those stats! It’s a fun way to preview the season and we look forward to your comments! Is It October 9th in Dallas yet?
Today, we’re looking at one of 7 players from the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup run, and one that has been given another chance with the team; Kris Versteeg.
The former fan favourite was traded to the Florida Panthers following the aforementioned championship, and struggled to re-gain his form that he had while wearing the Indian Head on his chest. On November 14th, 2013, GM Stan Bowman made a surprise trade, sending Dylan Olsen and Jimmy Hayes to South Beach for Versteeg.
Versteeg was off to an awful start to the season with the Panthers, going -9 with 7 points in his first 18 games of the season. With the Blackhawks, he quickly settled into a bottom-six role, landing on the third line with Andrew Shaw and a mill of other wingers throughout the year.
Versteeg certainly didn’t regain the affection that Blackhawks’ fans had given him the first time around, despite having four points in his first four games with the team. At the end of the season, Versteeg finished with 12 goals and 36 assists, with 10 and 29 of those coming with Chicago, respectively.
Despite the general dislike from the majority of Blackhawks’ supporters, Versteeg’s points-per-game average was .46, ranking him 10th on the team, ahead of the likes of Bryan Bickell, Marcus Kruger, and Ben Smith. He also became the only player in NHL history to score in two outdoor games, with a goal in the Stadium Series game to go along with a tally in the 2009 Winter Classic.
2014-2015 over/under– We predict Versteeg will score 15 goals and add 24 assists for a total of 39 points. Not wicked numbers by any means, but in a third pairing role, it’s all the Blackhawks will need to expect from the 28-year old.
Versteeg doesn’t have to be ‘great’ to ensure the Blackhawks’ offense has success in 2014-15; rather, he has to be good enough to force bad matchups for opposing coaches, and keep the Blackhawks’ dangerous with all 12 forwards.
Thanks for reading! For more Blackhawks conversation, like us on Facebook: Blackhawk Up, and follow us on Twitter: @Blackhawk_Up.