Kris Versteeg, who is as well travelled an NHL forward as you’ll find, is en course to wear a third jersey in a calendar year as he enters the unrestricted free agent market this summer.
Though Versteeg can no longer contribute in a primary scoring role, he’s a serviceable depth forward that can perform spot duty throughout the entire lineup. The two-time Stanley Cup winner is finishing a four-year deal, valued at $4.4-million per. As a serviceable depth forward in the twilight of his career, Versteeg is likely to take a pay cut as a member of the second free agent tier this summer.
The Scouting Report:
Versteeg, a fringe first liner for most of his career, can no longer play in a premier scoring role at this stage in his career. The cold reality is that time and the rigours of professional hockey caught up with Versteeg and rendered him a depth piece.
That isn’t to say Versteeg’s skill has all but evaporated. He is a crafty, sneaky sniper that skates well and has the shot to back it up, and while time has diminished his scoring knack, Versteeg remains a strong two-way player that’s strong in transition. Any team looking to add a quality depth forward could find Versteeg to be attractive. Having scored 15 goals each year for the past two seasons, there is no doubt of Versteeg being able to bury some of his chances.
Looking at Versteeg from a Canucks perspective, there likely isn’t a fit to be had. The Canucks have Sven Baertschi and Anton Rodin already in the fold for next season, and although not the same player, they fill the same role and skillset as Versteeg. Not to mention, the Canucks are currently overloaded with bottom 9 forwards.
Versteeg, a 10-year veteran, brings with him a winning pedigree, marked by a pair of Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. He can also contribute on both phases of special teams, as a penalty killer and power play ace alike.
With that being said, the Lethbridge native just turned 30 years old and doesn’t fit into the Canucks age group.
The Canucks and Versteeg just don’t seem to be a match.
The Canucks will be looking to an impact forward who can help their offensive attack and Versteeg will likely have a few suitors looking to add him as a depth piece. Whether that be a contender or a team that could offer a bigger role, other teams will likely be more attractive to the winger.
If not a team like Carolina or Toronto may try signing him, and then flipping him for picks at the deadline. Something that the Canucks would be wise to explore, but that is a whole different discussion.
Maybe if the Canucks strike out on the big fish, and Versteeg is still available that a deal could be worked out – but there are too many factors working against that for it to happen.