The Chicago Blackhawks system is full of finesse forwards, especially at the wing positions. So when the Blackhawks traded for Kris Versteeg, they obviously felt that he would provide more flexibility and a better two-way game than other left wings within their system, namely Jeremy Morin.
And despite a hot start, Versteeg is no longer finding the back of the net. Versteeg hit crossbar during the Blackhawks’ last contest against the Vancouver Canucks, Versteeg only registered two shots on goal and an assist. He ended the night a -1, meaning his month ended with only four points and a -5 rating.
Versteeg is having his worst defensive season with the Blackhawks aside from the 2007-08 campaign which was his rookie year that saw only 13 games. Versteeg does have a good turnover ratio, but has struggled as of late to hold onto the puck, a skill that is the foundation of his offensive game.
This combination has–for the most part–relegated Vertseeg to the third line, but with Bryan Bickell’s benching in favor of Brandon Pirri, Andrew Shaw was moved to left wing. That gives Versteeg some solid competition to remain within the top six, and should hopefully push Blackhawks wingers to stay away from the third line.
As far as Coach Joel Quenneville is concerned, the third line will always be seeing the least amount of ice time, somewhere around 10 minutes. But if anyone can help restore the Blackhawks’ philosophy of three puck possession lines and a strong fourth checking line, it is Kris Versteeg.
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