Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Kris Versteeg Part Of Latest Rumor

By Sean Fitzgerald
Jan 26, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Kris Versteeg (32) tries to control the puck against Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (72) during the second period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 26, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Kris Versteeg (32) tries to control the puck against Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (72) during the second period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the trade deadline coming up on February 29, Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman is scouring other teams’ rosters to find improvements for the stretch run. With Viktor Svedberg being recalled Tuesday, I think the Blackhawks will not focus on moving for a defenseman, but will instead look for a top-line left wing.

The likelyhood of the Blackhawks being able to add an Andrew Ladd/Brandon Saad type player is out of the question. The Blackhawks will have to settle for a second-tier left wing. In my mind, Bowman might look at a familiar face in Kris Versteeg. Now Versteeg is not a name that will wow many people. The Blackhawks have also been there and done that, but Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville love Versteeg.

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Versteeg to the Blackhawks makes sense for the following reasons:

  1. He can play left wing and score. Versteeg has 10 goals and 21 assists this season. In his career, he has scored 126 goals.
  1. He is familiar with the Blackhawks’ style of play. Versteeg spent five seasons and 294 games with the Blackhawks. He had 68 goals and 96 assists during his previous tenures with the Blackhawks.
  1. When healthy, he is effective on offense. He also has 20-goal potential. He recorded 14 goals with the Blackhawks in 2014-15 in 61 games. He was very effective before suffering a hand injury.
  1. He knows the Blackhawks’ culture of winning. Versteeg has experienced their winning way before, being part of two Stanley Cup championships. He will not wilt under the pressure of being part of the defending Stanley Cup champions.
  1. The price: Versteeg will probably cost a lower draft pick or a prospect. The Blackhawks might even be able to get Versteeg for Mark McNeill and sixth-round pick. Versteeg’s salary also fits perfectly into the Blackhawks’ salary cap space. Versteeg is due $2.2 million for the this entire season, and the Blackhawks currently have $2,164,265 in cap space available. At the deadline the Blackhawks will have $3,571,038 in cap space available.

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I had this thought when Versteeg made the comments that he could be dealt at the deadline by the Hurricanes. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times also floated this rumor recently. This could be a real possibility for the Blackhawks down the stretch.

Another possibility to play top-line left wing is Richard Panik. Panik had success in a top-line stint last night, recording a goal. The big longshot is the Blackhawks trade for a defenseman and recall Marko Dano to play left wing on the top line. Dano has spent the majority of his time in Rockford this season.

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