On Saturday we kicked the "Kris Versteeg to the Flyers" rumors to the curb, questioning their source while still mentioning the plausibility of the deal. After all, while the source on the record was less than reputable, the speculation in that report made sense.
Versteeg's a nice two-way forward who won a Stanley Cup just a year ago against our boys. He has a relatively decent cap hit and he'd be a nice fit on the wing with these Flyers. Most of all, he's young and still has a ton of upside, and you could say that he was in less-than-ideal situations in both Toronto and Chicago to start his career.
Well, it's happened. The Philadelphia Flyers have traded for forward Kris Versteeg today, sending a first round pick and a third round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 24-year-old winger. If you're thinking that's a bit of an overpayment, you'd be correct.
This is a weak draft coming up this summer, but this will now be the third straight year in which the team lacks a first round pick. That is, unless they acquire one via another route before June. For now, we're still going with the assumption that the Flyers hate draft picks.
Here's the thing, though. Tim Panaccio reported that the Leafs were after James van Riemsdyk in this deal and that they settled on the two draft picks. It might be an overpayment, but if you consider the weak draft thing, can you be sure that the Flyers' first round pick this year would be a 20-goal scorer (or better) in the NHL? Up for debate.
Versteeg is under contract through the end of the 2011-2012 season at a cap hit of $3.083 million. With the trade on the books, the Flyers are again over the yearly salary cap -- albeit by just $19,383 according to CapGeek.com.
The biggest question in this move, as it pertains to the future, is what the Flyers do with Ville Leino. He's still an unrestricted free agent at the end of the current season, and as the Flyers add over $3 million to their pay roll for next year, you have to wonder where they're going to get the money to fit No. 22. Leino's expected to earn about $3 million per season on his next deal, as well. A lot depends on how much the salary cap goes up for next season.
We'll have plenty of time to analyze what this means for the future, but what does it mean for the current team? If you thought there were an excess of forwards before, the Flyers now have 15 on the NHL roster. FIFTEEN!
It bumps somebody else out of the roster immediately -- looking at you, Dan Carcillo or Jody Shelley -- and it makes you wonder if another move is coming. It's clear that Nikolay Zherdev, already a healthy scratch, is not liked by Peter Laviolette and the coaching staff. If they're not going to put him in the lineup, the best thing to do is trade him, and perhaps the acquisition of Versteeg is a precursor to that move.
Full team press release with quotes from Paul Holmgren ("he's an exciting young forward") and Kris Versteeg ("excited") after the jump.
FLYERS ACQUIRE RW KRIS VERSTEEG FROM TORONTO
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have acquired 5-10, 182-pound right wing Kris Versteeg from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a first-round and a third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
"Kris is an exciting young forward," Holmgren said. He's 24 years old and he'll fit in with our group of players here. He's a quality forward that can play in a lot of different roles for our hockey team. He can move up and down our lineup. He can kill penalties. He can play on the power play. We think he's a guy that over the last few years, particularly in Chicago, has really blossomed into a good forward and we think he's going to be a really good addition to our team."
"Right away I was extremely excited to join this team," Versteeg said. "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."
Versteeg, 24 (5-13-86), was a fifth-round selection of the Boston Bruins (134th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. In 53 games for Toronto this season, Versteeg has posted 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points. He was acquired by Toronto on June 30, 2010 in a five-player trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Versteeg was part of Chicago's Stanley Cup championship team last season, contributing 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points in 79 regular season games and adding six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
In 223 NHL games with Chicago and Toronto over parts of four seasons, Versteeg has career totals of 58 goals and 78 assists for 136 points.
The Flyers return to action on Tuesday night when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning in the start of a four-game road trip. The game will be broadcast in high definition on Comcast SportsNet and also will air on 610 WIP. Puck drop is 7:30 PM.
Individual game tickets for the 2010-11 season are still available exclusively through ComcastTIX at philadelphiaflyers.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wells Fargo Center box office. Fan-favorite All You Can Eat packages including hot dogs, popcorn, chips with salsa and/or cheese, ice cream, and soda (or water) are also available exclusively through ComcastTIX, at philadelphiaflyers.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wells Fargo Center box office.
- FLYERS -
- Download the press release. [PDF]