29-Year-Old Right Wing – Carolina Hurricanes
Kris Versteeg Contract Information:
Agreed to a four-year deal with Florida in July of 2012.
Versteeg didn't practice Tuesday due to an illness.
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Kris Versteeg: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Versteeg's return to the Blackhawks fold was not what everybody envisioned. He was inconsistent in the regular season and his role was reduced in the playoffs. His explanation? He said he was restricted by a knee injury last season. If this is correct, you can probably get him on the low side and hope he returns to his days where he averaged 20 goals and 25-30 assists. Just don't pay too much -- this is a classic risk/reward recommendation. You'll either look brilliant or stupid by picking him up, and only you know how your ego will hold up in that scenario.
His season ended after just 10 games with a knee injury, but a surgically repaired Versteeg may be a great fantasy steal. He only had four points before getting hurt, but posted 54 in 71 games the year before in 2011-12. He won't be at the top of most people's rankings, but he holds a ton of upside as a later-round draft pick.
Versteeg avoided arbitration, signing a four-year contract with the Panthers this offseason, and will now look to build upon a 2011-2012 campaign that saw the crafty winger set career-highs in goals (23) and points scored (54). A hip injury put a damper on an already productive season. Versteeg is on pace to start camp 100% healthy and will look to continue his productive ways, making him a savvy pick in the later rounds of drafts.
Versteeg tallied 46 points (21 G, 25 A) splitting time between the Flyers and Maple Leafs last season. The former Stanley Cup champion was acquired by trade during the offseason and will look to make himself a legitimate two-way scoring threat. Versteeg has scored at least 20 goals in three straight seasons and should not have an issue making it four straight for the offensively improved Panthers.
Gutsy? Check. Hard-working? You bet. Skilled? And then some. Sounds like the perfect, Brian Burke kind of guy. Who cares if he's only 5-9 and 180 pounds? He's a menace shorthanded and his offensive turning radius is tighter than Shawn White on his board. Versteeg poured in the points (44) in limited ice time in Chicago and then amped things up in the playoffs (14 in 22 games). He'll become beloved in Hogtown and you'll appreciate him on your fantasy squad, too -- to the tune of about 65 points and as many PIMs.
His numbers should go up even if there is talk about a sophomore slump, which bodes very well for his value after a 22-goal campaign during his first full season with Chicago. With Marian Hossa out for several weeks, Versteeg shoud benefit from being locked into one of the scoring lines. Yet another young Hawk with a strong two-way game (plus-15 rating), Versteeg's 54-point, campaign helped him get a Calder Trophy award nomination last season.
The 22-year-old right wing had a brief stint with the parent club in 2007-08, scoring two goals and adding two assists in 13 games. He is battling for one of the final roster spots in training camp and is bound to split his time between the AHL and NHL this season.
Versteeg played well in the preseason, but was sent down to Rockford of the AHL. Most likely will play the entire season for the IceHogs, but could come up to the big club near the end of the season.
Versteeg jumped from the Western Hockey League to the AHL by season's end, and certainly didn't look out of place in the men's league. But at 5'10" and 172 lbs, Versteeg is going to need to eat his Wheaties to compete at the next level. Monitor him but don't take the bait until you see sustained, regular contributions.