Shockwaves of nostalgia were felt throughout the entire Chicagoland area. The Blackhawks are bringing back a familiar face, two-time Stanley Cup Champ, Kris Versteeg. Versteeg has signed a one-year AHL deal with the Rockford IceHogs, where he will likely take on a mentor role as some of the Blackhawks’ more promising prospects make their way towards the NHL.
Kris Versteeg had an interesting year, to say the least. He spent the past season splitting time in both the KHL and the SHL. Versteeg started the season in the KHL with Omsk Avangard, where he played 11 games and posted 5 points (3G, 2A). He would then contract shingles and was granted his release from the team. However, this is when his luck began to change for the better.
Versteeg would sign with Vaxjo HC of the SHL, where he had much better results. He boosted his offensive output to slightly under 1ppg, as he tallied 11 points (4G, 7A) through 12 regular season games. His late-season performance with Vaxjo HC would help get them into the playoffs. Here, Versteeg boosted his stock with an impressive 6 points (4G, 2A) in 7 playoff games.
The contract that was signed is strictly an AHL contract, meaning that Versteeg would have to sign an entirely new NHL contract if he were to join the Blackhawks at any point during the 2019-20 season. I think the fact that it was an AHL contract is kind of telling of the role StanBo & Co. see Kris Versteeg playing this season. He is a 2-time Stanley Cup champ, well versed in the NHL lifestyle and everything it brings, and also, well-traveled after playing in both the KHL and SHL.
While he probably won’t be a huge source of scoring with the IceHogs, Kris Versteeg will be extremely valuable to the growth and development of the Blackhawks’ up and coming prospects. The offseason hasn’t technically started yet, but things just got a little more interesting. What else does Stan Bowman have up his sleeve?