Chicago Blackhawks: Kris Versteeg Days Until Regular Season
By Samuel Boland
As the countdown to the Chicago Blackhawks 2018-19 season continues, we’ll take a look at one player who wore the same number as there are days left until October 4 when the season kicks off against the Ottawa Senators.
Chicago Blackhawks hockey is now only 23 days away. With 24 to go yesterday we talked about Martin Havlat who was part of the transformation from the dark-aged Chicago Blackhawks to the team which made three different memorable cup runs over six years.
With 23 days to go today we’ll talk about Kris Versteeg; a strong contender to be chosen as our no. 32 feature. Fortunately for our purposes, he wore no. 23 in his second stint with Chicago, so he remains eligible for our countdown (though there’s another Chicago sports legend we’d like to give day 23 to if we could, however Michael Jordan tried baseball instead of hockey)(though I’d personally like to see Jordan play hockey)(okay, rant over).
Versteeg was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft (134th overall). Of the 133 picks before him, only fourteen of them have played more games throughout their NHL career. Two of them are Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, so those really shouldn’t count, either.
After being moved around and playing his way through the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL system, Versteeg played his first full NHL season in 2008-09.
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Versteeg With The Chicago Blackhawks
Kris earned himself a solidified spot that year and played well enough to finish third in Calder Memorial Trophy voting.
Versteeg put up the second best season of his career that year with 53 points, topping that only once in 2011-12 after joining the Florida Panthers.
In that stellar rookie season, he scored 22 goals and added 31 assists. Versteeg was fast and pretty darn annoying to play against. In 2010, Kris was a crucial part of the team that would make one of the most memorable playoff runs in my memory.
He looked as if he’d be part of the Blackhawks long-term plans after that year, but that wouldn’t be in the cards as he was one of many departures Chicago saw from that Stanley Cup winning team.
Perhaps this performance had something to do with it.
You know, every time Disney put one of their successful works “on-ice” I always thought it was transformed into something of significantly worse quality. That said, this may be the only time I like the “on-ice” version more.
After playing a few seasons split between Toronto, Philadelphia and Florida, Versteeg returned to Chicago for a second, two-year stint. A lot fans were disappointed that he wasn’t the same player he was before where he put up 50+ points. That said, Versteeg wasn’t brought in to be the same player he was before.
He played just 12 games in the 2014-15 season, but Versteeg and Chicago were good enough to secure their third (his second) Stanley Cup win in six seasons.
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For a little fun fact action, Versteeg is the only NHL player to score at Solder Field, Wrigley Field and the United Center. Steeger has been around the league quite a bit, however I’ll always remember him for his electricity on the ice and his terrible, terrible rap skills off of it.
Stay tuned to see who’s featured at day 22!