Over the past couple of weeks, it’d be almost impossible to find two franchies that were more different in their actions so far this summer than the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
While the Panthers are busy signing and trading for seemingly everyone available, the Flyers have dumped a good chunk of their roster, mostly to sign new goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a new contract. The recent tactics by both Paul Holmgren in Philly and Dale Tallon in Florida made the two perfect trading partners.
At the draft last weekend, a rumor had floated around about Kris Versteeg and his availability. A few teams had been mentioned as possible destinations for the 25-year-old forward. But as much subtraction as this Philly roster had endured over the past couple of weeks, there was some speculation that the Flyers could actually hang onto Versteeg.
But as we learned on Friday afternoon, that wasn’t the case. The Flyers shipped Versteeg to the Panthers for a second round pick in 2012, as well as a conditional third round pick in either the 2012 or 2013 draft.
The trade means Versteeg will have to pack up the ol’ moving van again, for the fourth team he’ll join this calender year. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Versteeg was a cap casualty, like many were in Chicago last summer, and was traded to Toronto. The Leafs would then spin Versteeg onto the City of Brotherly Love in a midseason trade last season.
Versteeg joins a slew of former Blackhawks teammates that have made their way to Miami during Dale Tallon’s brief tenure as general manager of the Florida Panthers. That list includes Jack Skille, acquired last year at midseason, as well as Tomas Kopecky and Brian Campbell, both of whom arrived last week.
Versteeg might not be an All Star-level talent, but he’ll prove a dependable winger nonetheless. He’s definitely a forward capable of playing in the top six, though, and could see plenty of top line minutes with this new look Panthers squad.
In splitting the 2010-20121 season with Toronto and Philly, Versteeg finished the season with 46 points, including 21 goals. That’s not a far cry from his career mark of 53 points, which came back in ’08-’09. He should also help improve what was an abysmal power play in Florida last season.
Overall, the Florida Panthers and their fans should end up very pleased with the acquisition of Kris Versteeg. He’s not a guy that’s going to set the world on fire, but he’s a great guy on and off the ice, and should prove to be an asset as this Panthers club continues to turn the corner with Tallon at the helm.