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Free Agency Preview: Kris Versteeg

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Kris Versteeg will likely find his 7th NHL home next year. Should it be in Nashville?

San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Five Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Player Profile

Versteeg is a journeyman 2nd/3rd line winger who is almost always on the trade block. He practically lives there. Seriously, every season, you hear that so-and-so is looking to move Kris Versteeg and that so-and-so may be interested in acquiring him. I guess this is what happens when you have your name on the Stanley Cup twice.

Drafted by Boston, he first landed in Chicago, where he played a part in the Blackhawks' Cup run in 2010. He then moved to Toronto, Philly, and Florida, before being sent back to Chicago in exchange for Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen. He would eventually win his 2nd Cup with Chicago in 2015. The Carolina Hurricanes nabbed him up this past off-season, getting quite the bargain at just over $3 million. But the Hurricanes, as they have done recently, sucked. They moved him to the Kings this past season in exchange for a prospect and a pick.

Having been traded seven times in his nine year career, poor Kris would probably like a steady job somewhere. Or at least the ability to apparate, to make moving easier.

Recent Stats

In addition to his Cup accolades, Versteeg is a nice possession player to have around. While he's never going to be a 30 goal scorer (his career high was 23 with Florida back in 2010-11), his Corsi numbers are impressive. He is consistently one of the better players on his team in terms of shot generation and overall puck possession. Over his career, Versteeg has maintained a 53.7% Corsi rating. And, Chicago notwithstanding, that's with some relatively bad teams.

The really nice thing about Versteeg is how much he improves his linemates:

Versteeg's linemates see a nice bump in puck possession and in scoring, mostly because of his skill set: he's very skilled with the puck, has great offensive awareness and can shoot the puck with consistent accuracy (11.2% shooting in his career).

For an idea of his skill set, check out this goal right here:

Hmm... where have we seen a goal like that before?

Where Would He Fit?

As far as his playing style, Versteeg would make the most sense on the 2nd line, opposite either Smith or Forsberg. But tactically that wouldn't make much sense. As a right-handed shooter, and with Smith and Forsberg being considerably better scorers (not to mention the chemistry they've been building up), Versteeg wouldn't really fit there. The only way that would work is if either Smith or Forsberg were bumped to the top line with Joey and Neal. Then I could see Versteeg slotting into that empty winger position.

So the best place would probably be on the 3rd line, with Mike Fisher as his center. A Wilson-Fisher-Versteeg line would be a 200-foot, all-around, dynamic line, giving Fisher two great scoring options on either side. This might bump Viktor Arvidsson or Miikka Salomaki to the 4th line, but that wouldn't be a terrible idea either.

Does It Make Sense?

Considering the pieces that Poile already has in place and considering the RFAs Poile is likely to lock up this off-season, not really.

At 30 years old, Versteeg is probably a $3.0-3.5 million player. And he will probably want a no-trade clause as a part of it. If Poile were interested in pursuing Versteeg, I could see him getting the lower end of that range (because he tends to do that), so probably around $3 million. But this team already has Craig Smith and Colin Wilson at $4 million each, and they are about to throw around $6 million at RFA Filip Forsberg. All of these guys have been patently better than Versteeg over the past two years (with the exception of maybe Wilson, but... let's not go there).

In addition, guys like Arvidsson, Salomaki, Watson, Aberg, and Fiala are all competing for a spot and are considerably cheaper replacements for a guy like Versteeg. Calle Jarnkrok, another RFA, will probably get $1-1.5 million. Jarnkrok is all but guaranteed a spot on the roster next year, because apparently the Preds coaching staff have posters of Calle up on their bedroom walls.

Signing a $3-4 million winger with a 20 goal ceiling, regardless of his Cup winning history, wouldn't make much sense.