Kris Versteeg holds many ties to Chicago Blackhawks history
We’ve made it to December, and Christmas is 23 days away. What better way to count down to present opening and eggnog than looking at Chicago Blackhawks greats, and not so greats, that have worn sweater numbers 25-1. This isn’t a, ‘Best Blackhawk To Wear…’ list. This is just ‘A Blackhawk That Wore/Wears…’ So if your favorite isn’t on this list, don’t come crying to me. Or do. I don’t care. Anyway, here we go …
While his NHL career may have taken him across all of North America and even a brief trip to Europe, Kris Versteeg remains on of the more successful, short-term players in Chicago Blackhawks history.
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Drafted in 2004 by the Boston Bruins, Versteeg made his way to the Blackhawks by trade in 2007 and made his NHL debut with Chicago in the 2007-08 season.
Versteeg’s first full NHL season in 2008-09 ranks as the second-best season of his career. Tallying 53 points (22 goals, 31 assists) and named a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist for NHL Rookie of the Year, Versteeg was a key factor for Chicago during the Blackhawks’ resurgence in the late 2000s.
And yes, Versteeg did wear sweater No. 32 during his first stint with the Blackhawks, but he also wore No. 23 in his second stint — so there, 23.
Versteeg’s initial stay with the Blackhawks from 2007-10 produced his first Stanley Cup championship in 2010 before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the multi-player deal that landed Viktor Stalberg for Chicago.
After being moved to Toronto in 2010, Versteeg also made stops with the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers before returning to the Blackhawks by trade in 2013.
It is possible that Versteeg is best known for his contributions to the Blackhawks in there multiple outdoor game appearances. During the 2009 Winter Classic against the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field, Versteeg opened the scoring and is known as the first player to ever score a goal at the historic Wrigley Field.
God, those uniforms are slick.
As if that wasn’t good enough, Versteeg also notched a goal in the Blackhawks’ Stadium Series victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Solider Field in 2014. For that, Versteeg remains, and quite possibly will be the only player, to ever score a goal in both Wrigley Field and Solider Field.
Add to that historic stat the fact that Versteeg was able to be a part of the 2015 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks as well, and his accumulated time in Chicago could be seen as one of the most fruitful, short-term tenures in franchise history.
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The Blackhawks would trade Versteeg in the summer on 2015 to the Carolina Hurricanes, and from there, he would wind up with the Los Angeles Kings and then would attempt to sign with SC Bern in Switzerland.
The Bern deal would fall through due to Versteeg not getting medical clearance and he would end up getting a deal with the Calgary Flames.
For his career, Versteeg has skated in 567 games with 321 points and counting. In his time in Chicago, he played in a total of 294 games and scored 164 points (68 goals, 96 assists) with two Stanley Cup championships.
It’s good to see that Versteeg has been able to stay healthy since returning to the NHL this year and is scoring at a healthy, by his standards, half-point-per-game pace. Let’s just hope he doesn’t end up being a Blackhawks killer in the Western Conference this year.