February 25, 2012; Raleigh, NC, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Tomas Fleischmann (14) is congratulated by teammate right wing Kris Versteeg (32) after his 3rd period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC center. The Panthers defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE

What Is Kris Versteeg's Value?

April 1, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Kris Versteeg (32) skates with the puck in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

When a player is drafted, signed, or traded to a specific team, it means a few things. First of all, it means that the player has shown skills that spiked the interest from general managers and scouts throughout the league. The general managers go out of their way to make sure they can get the player that they want to help their franchise progress and hopefully compete for a championship. Everyone knows that when a player is on a team he is under contract with that specific team. Although the player is the one who is the beneficiary as they make millions of dollars to do something they love, they were still bought and whether they like it or not are being controlled by the GM’s. One bad play or one bad press experience can alter any player’s career and the person who makes the decision is the general manager, not the player.

Every player in the National Hockey League has a price. Although some players’ price is higher than others, every player in the league can be purchased. Every team in the NHL manages their money differently. Some teams save their money in order to go out and make a big time free agency move like the Minnesota Wild, while some teams like to conserve their money and spend it on players who aren’t necessarily worth the big time contracts.

When this past season ended, Florida Panthers winger, Kris Versteeg, became a restricted free agent. Versteeg wants to stay here in Florida. Last season, Versteeg had his best season as a professional, scoring a career high 54 points. During the offseason, the Versteeg and the Panthers have been quietly discussing what they can do contract wise, while the Panthers tried to figure out exactly what Versteeg is worth.

The Panthers are trying to be careful with their money as they currently have defender Brian Campbell under contract with a cap hit of just over $7,000,000 a year, for the next four years. The Panthers have also been heavily rumored in trade talks with Vancouver Canucks goaltender, Roberto Luongo. With the possibility of acquiring an expensive goalie, the Panthers are trying to manage their money in a way so they won’t go over the cap limit set by the NHL.

Recently, Versteeg filed for arbitration. In sports, arbitration is a process that helps resolves contract issues between players and the team they are in negotiations with. Both the players and the teams come up with a salary number for what they would like to either pay or receive next season. Once the two sides come up with a number, the arbitrator, which is a third person party will then come up with the player’s salary. The arbitrator determines the player’s salary based off of the players statistics from the past season, the players contribution to the team, and the number of games played, other factors are also included as well.

Last season Versteeg was one of the most productive players on a division championship team. He was able to score 23 goals in 71 games; Tomas Fleischmann led the Panthers in goals, scoring 27 in 82 games. I’m not trying to take anything away from Fleischmann, but if Versteeg was able to stay healthy for the entire season, he most likely would have led the team in goals. Versteeg was also fourth on the team in assists and third in total points. Without the production that he gave us, the Panthers might have not had the same success that they had.

Versteeg is only 26 years old, about to enter his prime, and he is continuing to improve his game. Although many view him as an undersized player, he is always grinding out on the ice with players that are much bigger than him.  He’s quick, has a nose for the net and is fiesty.

If it were up to me, I would do whatever I can to try and lock him up long term. He isn’t worth the contracts that were given to players like Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby. There have been several different reports about where these two sides are at. With Versteeg filing for arbitration, the two sides will be guided through this process of trying to obtain one of, if not the most versatile player on the team.

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Tags: Brian Campbell Florida Panthers Kris Versteeg Minnesota Wild Sidney Crosby Tomas Fleischmann Vancouver Canucks Zach Parise

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