Getting to Know Florida Panthers’ Kris Versteeg
Kris Versteeg began playing hockey for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL (Western Hockey League) in 2002 for three seasons (2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05) before playing with both the Kamloops Blazers and Red Deer Rebels in the 2005-06 season.
He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins (134th overall). He played with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence for parts of two seasons (2005-06, 2006-07) before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks making his NHL debut with them in the 2007-08 season. He played at the NHL level for a total of 13 games and tallied two goals and four points during that time. The next season (2008-09) was Versteeg’s first full [rookie] season with the Blackhawks and was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy for the league’s best rookie. He went on to help Chicago win the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. A few days after winning the Cup with the Blackhawks, Kris got a tattoo depicting “06 • 09 • 10″ for the date they won the Cup.
Two weeks after that, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs (he was part of the organization readjusting / eliminating salaries to remain under the cap that off-season). And in February of 2011, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for first-round and third-round draft picks who then traded him a few months later to the Florida Panthers for a second-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2012 draft.
Versteeg has also been added to a notable, small list of players having his name misspelled on the Stanley Cup. It appears as “Vertseeg” (the engraver had switched the ‘s’ and ‘t’ in his last name). According to the older Versteeg, his younger brother predicted the mishap which has since been corrected by the NHL (“I think they just kind of punched (the correct letters) over it, you can tell,” he told the Toronto Star after seeing a picture the league had sent him after the correction).
“I may never be one of the biggest names in the game but now it’ll go down in history as one of the misspells on the Stanley Cup so I’ll take it,” Versteeg told the Toronto Star. “It’s just a perfect example of my life. Just something crazy and quirky that’s always happening to me.”