It’s official: Kris Versteeg has had the best first quarter of the hockey season in Panthers’ history. The 25-year-old winger has scored 11 goals has added 14 assists for a team record of 25 points through the first twenty games of the year, easily shattering Olli Jokinen’s previous record of 11 goals and 11 assists in 2002-03.
The blond-haired, smooth-singing Kris Versteeg is finally making a name for himself in the national hockey community, and his incredible chemistry with his first line partners is winning hockey games and putting fans in seats.
For years, the Panthers have played a boring, dump-and-chase brand of hockey that wasn’t all that exciting to watch, and it didn’t exactly create an enormous amount of goals, either. In a city like Miami that loves style, the grind-it-out method employed by Jacques Martin and Pete DeBoer couldn’t attract fans enough to pack the BAC. Things are certainly different with Kevin Dineen’s wide open system, and Mr. Versteeg has absolutely flourished playing on the first line of a high octane offense. The results speak for themselves (check the conference and division standings).
Panther fans haven’t had such an explosive scorer play in Sunrise since the Russian Rocket himself, Pavel Bure. Even though Versteeg has scoring to do to reach the top of the statistical categories, his play has put him near the top in the league. He is third in the league in points scored, tied for fourth in goals, and tied for seventh in plus-minus. If Versteeg continues on this run of points scoring, he would finish the year with over 40 goals and 100 points, but he would be the first to tell you that his stats are not his main objective; in an article today from Ira Winderman, he said:
“I don’t even look at it, to tell you the honest truth. “I hear it, but it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve never tried to look at it, because I know how I’m doing and because maybe you start thinking about it too much.”
It feels good as a Panthers fan to look around the league and see articles about Versteeg and the rest of his line, Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann, and how much praise they are getting (even from the Canadian media!). Versteeg’s scoring ability is playing huge dividends for the Panthers, and fans are starting to fill the arena more than ever becuase of it.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment and go to tonight’s game against the Rangers!
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