Chicago Blackhawks fans got a gift just minutes after the team’s victory over the Phoenix Coyotes when GM Stan Bowman announced that the Blackhawks had swung a trade to bring back Kris Versteeg from the Florida Panthers.
“Verbeauty”, as fans and teammates know him, was a fan favorite during the 2010 Stanley Cup run. Because of salary cap issues, Versteeg had to be dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs soon after the parade. After a stint with the Philadelphia Flyers, Versteeg found himself on the Florida Panthers under former Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon.
Versteeg’s impact on the Blackhawks has not just been for sentimentality’s sake, however. Versteeg was a big part of the 2010 Cup championship, after all. He was mainly brought in the play left wing, but he’s also versatile, and can play either in the middle or on the right wing if the situation requires it. Versteeg currently has (at the time of writing) four points since he’s joined the Blackhawks.
Aside from his versatility, his skill on the penalty kill will be vital if the Hawks want to compete for the title. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill left much to be desired early in the season, but Versteeg has helped bring it back to a respectable level, mainly by helping to relieve some of the other penalty killers.
He’s definitely provided a boost to the team, either by his versatility, his penalty kill or familiarity. He’s a great fit for this team, and will be a big part for whatever playoff run this team makes. Unless a better trade or deal is made somewhere down the line, this is the best deal GM Stan Bowman has made this year, so far.
But his rapping, however bad it might be, will be sorely missed.