Late today the Flyers acquired Forward Kris Versteeg from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2011 1st and 3rd round picks. At first glance the price seems a little steep, but Versteeg is only 24 years old. He has already proven he can be successful at the NHL level and draft picks are never sure things. The Flyers GM Paul Holmgren continues his trend of winning now first and worrying about the future of the team later. To his defense, he has had a lot of success with the trades he has made. Some said he may have “mortgaged the future when he traded picks and young defenseman Luca Sbisa for Pronger. But Pronger was a major reason for the team’s postseason run and has more than proved the doubters wrong.
As Flyers fans might remember Versteeg was member of the team who defeated them in Stanley Cup Finals last season. Versteeg was traded to the Leafs after the last season in a 5 player trade. He is in his third season and this will be his 3rd different team. So far this season, he has registered 35 points (14 goals, 21 assist). In the previous full seasons he has played, he has scored 53 and 44 points. If he lives up to his reputation, he should be a Phan Phavorite in Philly.
Since the trade I have heard a lot of people trying to compare him to current Flyers Captain Mike Richards. Versteeg has had a reputation for his scrappy and gritty play, but he is not an enforcer. He is way to undersized to be considered anything close to an enforcer, he is only 5-10 182 pounds, He is a very skilled player, but like Richards, he isn’t afraid to do the dirty work if necessary. While I wouldn’t get to excited and think we are getting another Richards, he does play with a scrappiness and skill that Flyers fans are going to love.
He is expected to join the team in Tampa in time to dress for tomorrow night’s game against the Lighting. While speaking to reporters today, he seemed very excited to join the team.
“Right away I was extremely excited to join this team. They’ve had a lot of success this season. They had a great playoff push last year and I’m excited to try and have a good one this year. I like to make plays and score goals at the same time, maybe go out there and be an agitator at times too. I’m going to try and do it all and have fun doing it.” said Versteeg
Where does Versteeg fit on the roster and what will happen to the other members on the team? It seems as though Versteeg will be put on the Mike Richards line. I would like to see the team try to move Dan Carcillo before the deadline. Carcillo is a tough player who isn’t afraid to drop the gloves but doesn’t seem to have a sense of when things need to be done. While the Flyers were dominating the Penguins in the Playoffs two years ago, he gave the Pens all the momentum by beating Maxime Talbot into the ice. The Penguins then went onto the win the series clinching game. And with the addition of Jody Shelley over the offseason, the Flyers don’t need another “enforcer” during the playoffs. The addition of Versteeg gives them 14 forwards who are capable of playing. If Carcillo is dealt they could mix and match who plays from game to game. I think that the players who would be candidates for being a healthy scratch would be Zherdez, Nodl and Shelley.
The addition of Versteeg should help the Flyers down the stretch. Versteeg is a very good player but the mental aspect of the addition should be good for the team. Sometimes players look for the GM to get them some help at the deadline and it can be a distraction if a move is not made. While the team traded draft picks, Versteeg gives them talented young player to add to their core. The trade adds more depth to team the deepest team in the NHL.