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‘Hawks ‘expect more’ from Versteeg next season

Jun 3, 2014, 3:08 PM EDT

Kris Versteeg Getty Images

Even with the Florida Panthers retaining half of Kris Versteeg‘s cap hit when they sent him to Chicago, the Blackhawks didn’t get great value out of the 28-year-old forward.

Chicago made him a healthy scratch four times in the playoffs and even when he was in the lineup, he only averaged 11:55 minutes per game. With the Blackhawks’ season on the line in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, Versteeg played in seven shifts, totaling 3:44 minutes to set a new playoff low for the second straight contest.

Still, the Blackhawks aren’t done with Versteeg. He’s signed through 2015-16 and although Chicago could buy him out — it would have to be a regular one as they’ve already spent their cap-free compliance buyouts — they won’t do that, per’s Brian Hedger.

“We expect more going forward,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville added, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.

Chicago’s hoping that Versteeg will benefit from a full offseason where he can work on his conditioning. He was still dealing with a knee injury through the summer of 2013 that stemmed from the lockout-shortened campaign.

Prior to the lockout, Versteeg scored at least 20 goals in four straight campaigns.

  1. shamu1the1whale - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    This is kinda unrelated, but after reading this article, now I’m wondering if Bolland had still been with the Hawks this year, could they have perhaps beaten LA in that Game 7?

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      In short, yes. It may not have gotten to Game 7. Bolland would have been the third line center playing defense against “That 70’s Line” and would have done a better job defensively against Carter than Handzus or Regin did. Now, that being said, I was all for Bolland leaving because other than his Stanley Cup winning goal, he did not play well last year.

      I was really hoping the headline related to Versuck this summer was going to be “Versteeg will likely get the Huet treatment and be asked to play in France”.

      • shamu1the1whale - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        I agree… Sigh… It would have been nice to see the Hawks win back-to-back Cups. But best of luck to LA :)

    • toews19 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      The two players I personally missed the most were Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik. Both provided help deep into the playoff run and obviously Bolland got the Stanley Cup winning goal. Although I like people like Versteeg and Brandon Bollig as people off the ice, they obviously didn’t contribute to the same degree that both Frolik and Bolland did

  2. esracerx46 - Jun 3, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    I’d rather see Versteeg traded and Kevin Hayes signed. I doubt either will happen.

  3. blackhawks2010 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Versteeg was terrible this year, never found his place with Hawks. Feels like we gave up too much for him, Jimmy Hayes was a solid player with skill and size which were missed against Blues and Kings. Versteeg disappeared in post season, not a good sign going forward.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      Well I get the “let’s keep some consistency and go for the Cup again” routine. The reason they didn’t do it after 2010 was because of the cap. Last year, they needed to do some maneuvering and this year, you will see some new faces. Guaranteed.

      Unless someone gets really drunk and takes him off our hands, Versteeg is unfortunately a Hawk until his contract runs out.

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