‘Hawks ‘expect more’ from Versteeg next season

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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 NHL.com’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.