Oct 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
To say that the Blackhawks offense has been struggling is an understatement. The Blackhawks are currently ranked 13th in the league in goals for, according to Hockey Reference.com. The Blackhawks climbed up the ranks after the offensive explosion in Montreal on Tuesday night. Despite the offensive struggles, one player seems to be excelling this season. That player is Kris Versteeg.
In case people forgot Kris Versteeg was required by the Blackhawks last season for Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen. Upon his return the Blackhawks Versteeg STRUGGLED! Last season was Versteeg’s worst season as a pro. (I’m not counting his 2010-11 season where he only appeared in 27 games.) EVERYONE wanted to run Versteeg out of town last season. Fans felt that his salary did not match his production. Despite the poor season, the Blackhawks decided to stay the course with Versteeg. The Blackhawks believed that Versteeg could return to the player they once knew. The belief is that Versteeg struggled last season because he rushed himself back from a knee injury.
The Blackhawks were gambling on the fact that Versteeg would be healthy and could return to form. The gamble did not look good to start this season. Versteeg had a good training camp, but sustained an injury at the very end of camp. He would miss the first four games of the season with a lower body injury. Since returning from injury Versteeg has been good. Despite being bounced from line to line like a pinball, he has scored four goals and one assists for five points. He is a +4 on the season.If you want advanced stats his I Corsi is 33 this season. It APPEARS that Versteeg could be returning to form and could be a trusted player again.
With Patrick Sharp going down with knee injury for at least four weeks, the Blackhawks are going to need consistent offensive production from Versteeg. To answer my question, is Kris Versteeg back? The answer is not yet, but he is off to a good start.
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