Then and Now: Kris Versteeg

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In February of 2011, the Philadelphia Flyers added Kris Versteeg from the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they were looking for a piece to help them make a deep playoff run. In exchange for the forward, Philly dealt a first-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Toronto selected Stuart Percy with the first-round pick and Josh Leivo with the third-round pick.

Versteeg’s first point as a Flyer came in Philly’s 4-2 decision over the Florida Panthers on February 16th, 2011, as the former Chicago Blackhawk set up Mike Richards’ for the opening goal of the contest.

The forward’s first goal with the Orange and Black came just four days later, as he iced a 4-2 win for the Flyers over the New York Rangers with an empty-net tally in the tilt’s final minute.

The first time Versteeg actually beat a goaltender with the Flyers came against the team that shipped him to Philly, as he deposited a pair of tallies past James Reimer in a 3-2 victory for the Leafs on March 3rd, 2011.

Versteeg’s final multi-point game with the Flyers came in the 2010-2011 regular season finale, as he had a pair of helpers in the squad’s 7-4 decision over the New York Islanders. In 27 regular season games with Philly, Versteeg produced seven goals and four assists.

The former Maple Leaf suited up for all 11 of the Flyers’ postseason games in 2011, as he had a goal and five assists. His only goal came in Philly’s final playoff game, as he tied Game 4 of the ECSF at one in the middle of the second period to give the Flyers’ one last hope of not being swept by the Boston Bruins.

Versteeg’s most memorable and important point as a Flyer came in Game 6 of the ECQF against the Buffalo Sabres. Down 3-1 after the first period and 4-3 entering the third period, the Flyers were able to force the game into overtime. Shortly before the five-minute mark, Versteeg had a shot blocked before grabbing his own rebound and throwing another attempt at Ryan Miller. Ville Leino was able to put a stick on the disc in the crease and beat his future teammate to send the series back to Philly for Game 7, as the Flyers won the decisive game 5-2 to advance to the ECSF.

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After just 38 total games with the Flyers, Versteeg was dealt to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Philly shipped the second-round pick to Tampa Bay, along with Jon Kalinski and a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, in exchange for Pavel Kubina. The Lightning chose Brian Hart with the 2012 pick and shipped the 2013 pick to the Ottawa Senators, who selected Tobias Lindberg. With the third-round pick, the Flyers picked Shayne Gostisbehere.

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In 2011-2012, Versteeg finished second on the team with 23 goals and third with 54 points, as he suited up for 71 games to help the Panthers win their first division title and end a 10-season NHL playoff drought.

Versteeg had a goal in Florida’s 3-2 loss in Game 1, the game-winner in the Cats’ 3-0 Game 5 win, and a tally in the team’s 3-2 overtime loss in Game 6. Unfortunately for Versteeg, the Panthers fell to the New Jersey Devils in double overtime of Game 7.

The shortened 2013 season didn’t seem to help either the Panthers or Versteeg, as both parties dropped their level of play. The Panthers went from finishing third in the Eastern Conference in 2011-2012 to finishing 15th in the conference. The former Flyer saw his point total drop from 54 to four, as he had two goals and two helpers in just 10 contests. Versteeg missed 38 games due to a variety of reasons, as he missed the final 21 games due to a lower-body injury, missed 12 games due to a chest injury, and missed five games due to a groin injury.

According to Panthers’ coach Kevin Dineen, Versteeg should be ready to go for the start of the 2013-2014 campaign.