Kris Versteeg was scheduled for arbitration with the Florida Panthers today, however that won’t be happening. Announced at roughly 10:00AM by the teams Twitter account (@FlaPanthers), Versteeg has agreed to a new four year deal that will keep him in Florida long term. At the start of the off season GM Dale Tallon had said one of his main priorities was to get Versteeg signed, it may have taken awhile but the job is done. Going to arbitration can be difficult for player and team relations at times, as each side is attempting to argue their case and in the end there may be bad blood or a deal that a team just isn’t willing to match. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here as Versteeg has stated several times he enjoys playing in South Florida and has a good relationship with Tallon. Both had come to Florida after being together with the Chicago Blackhawks, and it was because of Versteeg that Tallon gave up his sobriety to drink from the Stanley Cup.
Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed as of this article, but as soon as word is released we’ll be sure to have that information available to you. (UPDATE: Darren Dreger has tweeted that financial terms come out to $4.4m per year) One would think that Versteeg was due a raise from his $3.1m salary after putting up career numbers, let’s just hope it wasn’t an overpayment to avoid arbitration. Versteeg broke into the 2011-2012 NHL season with the Panthers, setting a franchise record with 25 points in his first 20 games played for the team (11g – 14a). His 23 goals were second on the team behind linemate Tomas Fleischmann, and his 54 points was good for third behind Stephen Weiss and Fleischmann.
Tallon spoke of this signing after it was announced and had this to say, “Kris played an important role in our club’s success last season and we are pleased to have reached a long-term contract agreement with him,” said Tallon. “He is a skilled player who recorded career highs in goals and points last season, while playing on our top line alongside Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann. We look forward to his continued offensive production, as well as his off-ice contributions in the South Florida community.”
Next up on the agenda, signing Dmitry Kulikov.