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Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks Recent Returning Player History

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CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18: Brian Campbell
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18: Brian Campbell /
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3 of 7
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 15: Kris Versteeg
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 15: Kris Versteeg /

Kris Versteeg

Versteeg was drafted by the Bruins in 2004 and played in their minor league system before being traded to the ‘Hawks in 2007 for Brandon Bochenski. Versteeg was finally called up for a few games in the 2007-08 season before playing his first two full seasons with the franchise in 2008-09 and 2009-10. He played in 78 and 79 games, respectively, and accumulated a combined 97 points in the two regular seasons. He added 4 goals and 8 assists in the 17 games he played in the 2009 postseason run and another 6 goals and 8 assists in the 22 playoff games it took the Blackhawks to end their 49 year championship drought in 2010.

While there seemed to be a knack for finding the back of the net off Versteeg’s stick, the Hawks had to move on from him after the 2009-10 season during the usual cap space purge. Versteeg was traded to Toronto, moved from the Maple Leafs to Philly during the following season, and then traded to Florida in the 2011 offseason. He accumulated 54 points in 71 games in his first year in Florida, but a combination of rib, groin, and knee injuries shortened his 2012-13 season to just ten games.

Just eighteen games into the 2013-14 season, Dale Tallon was ready to move on from the forward and found that Stan Bowman was willing to bring Versteeg back to Chicago. Tallon even kept half of the salary, which meant Versteeg only counted as $2.2 million against the Hawks cap.

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Versteeg played in 63 games for the Hawks in the 2013-14 season after re-joining them in early December. He scored 10 goals, had 19 assists, and was a plus-9 on the ice. But those numbers dropped significantly in the postseason. Versteeg only accumulated a goal and two assists in 15 games that Spring. He was a minus-5 on the ice during the playoffs.

Still under contract, Versteeg returned for the Hawks in 2014-15. Separate from the annoying EDM playlist “DJ Steeger” continued to provide the United Center that season, Versteeg also contributed 14 goals and 20 assists and was a plus-11 in the 61 regular season games he played with the team that year.

But, once again, Versteeg wasn’t much of a factor in the playoffs. He tallied only one goal and one assist and played in just 12 of the 23 games it took the ‘Hawks to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. He was a fringe option and often not dressing in favor of players like Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Desjardins, and Bryan Bickell. Once again being cap strapped and getting less and less production from Versteeg, they traded him and Joakim Nordstrom to Carolina late in the 2015 offseason to ensure cap compliancy.

Kris Versteeg’s second run with the Blackhawks was an incredibly interesting one. Unlike the other players we will soon cover, Versteeg spent almost two full seasons back with the team and was able to win another Stanley Cup with them. While his playoff numbers were rather disappointing and his seemingly lackadaisical playing style surely drove Joel Quenneville crazy, Versteeg did provide 63 points and was a plus-20 in the 124 games he played in his two seasons returning to the team.

The offensive success Versteeg saw may have seemed like more of a product of the teammates around him, but in the two years since leaving the team a second time, Versteeg still managed to score 38 and 37 points on the year. Maybe that doesn’t get you too excited, but that would have made him the seventh highest scoring forward on last year’s ‘Hawks squad; six points higher than Ryan Hartman.

While Versteeg will never be a top-line, elite scorer, he still has had success providing some offense on the bottom lines. This remains true for both of his runs with the Blackhawks. He was an affordable asset and depth player that gave the ‘Hawks options and did contribute (although minimally) in them winning another Cup.

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