With little fanfare, Kris Versteeg has put together a very solid season in Carolina — which, oddly enough, is part of the reason why he might be on the move by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
“If it happens I would not be shocked,” Versteeg said, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “At the same time, I’ve really enjoyed my time in Carolina and I’d really like to be part of this young team and help them win.”
Versteeg, 29, is in the last of a four-year, $17.6 million deal with a $4.4M average annual cap hit. That hit might seem a little high, but it becomes easier to stomach when you consider 50 percent of his salary was retained in an earlier trade — meaning that $4.4M hit is now down to $2.2M.
What’s more, Versteeg’s a UFA at season’s end, so he’d be an ideal rental-type for a team looking for depth at forward.
Or perhaps more.
With 30 points in 49 games this year, Versteeg’s scoring at a 0.61 ppg clip, the third-highest total of his eight-year career. He’s also averaging a healthy 16:30 TOI per night and, per head coach Bill Peters, can be trusted in a variety of situations.
“Steeger makes a lot of plays, a lot of the little plays in the offensive zone that some guys in the league and on our team can’t make,” Peters explained. “Lot of poise and patience with the puck.”
The other plus for Versteeg is his playoff experience. He’s appeared in 84 postseason games and won a pair of Stanley Cups, scoring 14 points in 22 games en route to the ’10 title.