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Versteeg: Chicago’s ‘where my heart is’

Nov 16, 2013, 11:52 AM EST

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers Getty Images

Kris Versteeg spent a little over three seasons away from Chicago and he’s thrilled to be back.

The 27-year-old forward won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, but they had serious cap problems and consequently dealt him to the Toronto Maple Leafs that summer. From there he went to Philadelphia and Florida before Chicago re-acquired him on Thursday.

“Obviously when (Panthers GM Dale Tallon) called me last night and told me I was coming back here, obviously put a smile on my face,” Versteeg said, according to the Sun Sentinel.

“It’s where my heart is.”

He might be excited about the prospect of rejoining the Blackhawks, but the reasons Florida dealt him in the first place were less than flattering.

“His game wasn’t consistent; it wasn’t at the top of his game,” Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. “He hadn’t played well yet this year.”

Tallon echoed Horachek remarks about Versteeg’s inconsistency and suggested that Versteeg was trying to do too much. That might have been partially influenced by him wanting to live up to his four-year, $17.6 million contract — Florida will retain half of what remains — but playing for a struggling club might have also been a factor.

Either way, Chicago won’t be counting on Versteeg to carry the team and that should help take some of the weight off his shoulders. He’ll be paired up with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw on the third line Saturday, according to CSN Chicago.

  1. hammerhead5573 - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I hope Hawk fans don’t do cartwheels now that he is back. He is not a bad payer by any means but he was sent packing by 4 teams. He holds onto the puck too long and when he does he gets flustered. I remember very well how pissed off fans would get at his decision making. With that said Q seems to get the most out of players, so hopefully he can be an important piece to the Hawks this year.

    • no - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      He also didn’t much of a chance to settle in with any of the teams, besides Florida who is incompetent across the board. Toronto and Philly also play a lot of grinder offense which is not the style he was accustomed to.

      He will be valuable secondary scoring for the Hawks.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Nov 17, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        Yeah, Florida was so incompetent when they took the Eastern Conference Champions to overtime of Game 7, 2 years ago……….

  2. 19to77 - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    “Also, the fact that they actually win games is pretty refreshing.”

  3. esracerx46 - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    The reason Versteeg has had a down year is simple. He’s coming off a serious knee injury. Also, the team he was on stinks. As has been the case with everywhere he’s been since Chicago, the teams he’s been on have expected more from him. They’ve put him on their top line, and while he’s capable it’s not ideal. His numbers since leaving Chicago are comparable to when he was here the first time. Fans did get upset over his decision making, but they also got upset over 88′s decision making. Hopefully age has cured some of that, and he won’t try to do too much and impersonate Kane. He doesn’t have to. Where he might have felt he needed to elsewhere. I’m cautiously optimistic. Chicago has a known commodity and won’t need him to be the guy. That’s what got him traded from Toronto to Philly to Florida to Chicago.

    • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Philly was a better team then Chicago the year versteeg was traded from Toronto to us. He just didn’t fit in at all. Philly or Toronto didn’t expect him to be a top line guy at all, only the panthers did. On the flyers he was givin a chance on the second line at one point and didn’t pan out so went to the third. He was completely inconsistent and choking when pressured. He didn’t mesh with anyone and we were stacked so he was completely expendable.

      • esracerx46 - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        When Brian Burke acquired Versteeg he said “he scored 20 goals not playing top six minutes, with us his ice time will certainly go up.” Versteeg was traded to Florida because Philly signed Jagr.

    • hawksin5 - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      @Esracer to answer your question from the article 2 days ago about Tallon and Bowman as trade partners, when u asked if there was something i know about Teuvo. Yes. Can’t say how or I will get in trouble. But Tallon has had his eye on TT for a while. At last years deadline he was debating offering up his first round to CHI in exchange for TT and a later pick. Imagine if hawks had done that and Bowman picked up Mackinnon at 2C or Drouin. GAME OVER.

      • hawksin5 - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        that is of course if COL didn’t take him 1 overall. but last year at the deadline when this deal was being contemplated, Jones was projected at 1 overall.

      • esracerx46 - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        I might have been more apt to take Barkov. Then again the Hawks don’t have any right handed centers. Or they could have went Seth Jones and not resign Roszival. Wonder if it was the Hawks or Tallon that held that up. Not familiar with the Panthers roster, anyone else the Hawks could poach? Hell, maybe gallon wants to make the same trade and the Hawks could end up with Ekblad or Reinhart.

      • esracerx46 - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        *Tallon… Stupid smartphone!

  4. hosewater2 - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Can we clarify whether FLA is taking half his salary just for this year or the following two years as well?

    • chiadam - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      For the remainder of the deal. Tallon just McHaled Versteeg to Chicago. Thanks!

    • themohel - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      I saw several tweets saying it is for all three years remaining on his deal (this year, plus two more).

  5. dadawg77 - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Half of the cap number for the length of the deal. Im not sure who if that requires Fla to pay cash and how much or just take a cap hit.

  6. muckleflugga - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    maybe versteeg should have had the courtesy to tell the teams signing his paycheques where his heart was…

    florida is apparently, well rid

    i see hawk fans eating this guy whole if he doesn’t contribute in a meaningful way

    they’ll do up his heart, turned lightly in a hot buttered pan, served with fava beans and a nice chianti

    sluuuuurp…

  7. blackhawks2010 - Nov 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Highway robbery! Hawks get Versteeg for a $2 million hit on cap? Amazing deal!

    Panthers just got abused, Steeger can rejoin the Champs and play on the 2nd/ 3rd line where he belongs. Go Hawks!

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Nov 17, 2013 at 12:39 AM

      Yeah, because the players that Chicago gave up were never 1st or 2nd round draft picks or anything.

  8. pfhockey - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Tallon does know he is the GM of the Panthers..right? jk, he could’ve gotten more from versteeg on a different team

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