Kris Versteeg leads the team with 5 goals and 6 assists Source: AP: cbssports.com
One of the most exciting names General Manager Dale Tallon brought to South Florida had to be Kris Versteeg. Kris Versteeg was a part of Dale Tallon’s Chicago Blackhawk club back when they won the Stanley Cup during the 2009-2010 season, registering 44 points during the regular season and 14 points during that magical post season run.
broke onto the scene during the 2008-2009 season with Chicago and managed to score 22 goals and 31 assists in 78 games. He was nominated as one of the finalists for the Calder Trophy (top NHL rookie) that season but was beat out by goaltender Steve Mason. Interestingly enough, Versteeg was then traded to Toronto after the magical run of the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Championship.
During his time in Toronto Versteeg registered 35 points in 53 games, but was later traded to Philadelphia
where he tallied 11 points in 27 games.
Dale Tallon knew what Versteeg had to offer, and knew he had a chance to rebuild this team around a player like him, so Dale Tallon acquired Versteeg from Philadelphia on July 1st, 2011 and ever since that day, Kris Versteeg has been on a mission to make a new name for himself.
“It’s tough bouncing around, learning new teammates and new systems,” said Versteeg. “When I finally got traded here, I hoped I could be here for some time. I love it here, love where I live. You can’t beat the weather. I want to win here. We rebuilt in Chicago, got to the top and they shipped everyone out. All the new free agents get to reap the benefit of us winning the Cup. I want to stay here and win the Cup here.” -Kris Versteeg
“When I came here I almost feel like I’m home, it just feels comfortable right away here. Hopefully, that vibe doesn’t go away and I can stick around and be a Panther for a while.” -Kris Versteeg
Thus far, Kris Versteeg
has seemed more than comfortable down here in South Florida with new line mates Stephen Weiss
and Tomas Flesichmann
already registering 11 points in 9 games. In Chicago, he was never really the go to guy with the names like Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Seabrook, Andrew Ladd and Jonathan Toews
all loaded up onto one team, but here in South Florida, when people think of the Florida Panthers
probably the first name that might come up is Kris Versteeg
. The question is, can Kris Versteeg
keep up the pace he’s going at and finish with somewhere around 70 points? I believe he can.
This is really the first time in Versteegs’ NHL career where he is the go to guy. He plays on the first line and is expected night in a night out to perform at a very high level and so far he’s done just that. Every time he touches the ice, he makes a difference in the game. Doesn’t matter if it’s scoring a goal, getting an assist or even smack talking with the other players, it always seems like he’s causing some trouble out there for the other team.
Thus far he has been at the top of the league in goals and assists, and hopes to continue being somewhere around the top all season. Barring any injury, it looks as if Kris Versteeg is on the verge of having a breakout season. So far he is tied for 2nd in the league with 3 power-play goals and tied for 15th with 3 power-play assists. Luckily for the Florida Panthers, it’s exactly what they need to compete for a playoff spot.
I expect Kris Versteeg to have an amazing season and reach that 70 point mark if he can stay healthy. He has the pieces around him to get there with Weiss and Flesichmann helping him out all year long. Kris Versteeg is happy to be here and Dale Tallon really made a great decision on bring him over to help rebuild this team, and hopefully in a couple seasons hoist the Stanley Cup once again.