If you can't beat em', join em'. Or in this case, have them join you. The Flyers pulled off a trade today acquiring Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kris Versteeg in exchange for a first- and third-round draft pick. Flyers fans probably remember Versteeg most for his work as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, when he helped them defeat the Flyers for the Stanley Cup. The 24-year-old winger comes at a fairly cheap cap hit, is signed though 2012 and gives the Flyers a guy with proven playoff experience yet also upside given his age.
Best part is... they got him without giving up a player on the current team. Of course, they'll be without a first round pick for the third straight year, but if they get a Stanley Cup out of it, who cares?
Versteeg was excited to move from the fourth from the bottom in the East to the team sitting at the top.
"Right away I was extremely excited to join this team," Versteeg said. "They've had a lot of success this season. They had a great playoff push last year and I'm excited to try and have a good one this year. I like to make plays and score goals at the same time, maybe go out there and be an agitator at times too. I'm going to try and do it all and have fun doing it."
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren says that Versteeg should fit well with the orange & black.
"Kris is an exciting young forward," Holmgren said. He's 24 years old and he'll fit in with our group of players here. He's a quality forward that can play in a lot of different roles for our hockey team. He can move up and down our lineup. He can kill penalties. He can play on the power play. We think he's a guy that over the last few years, particularly in Chicago, has really blossomed into a good forward and we think he's going to be a really good addition to our team."
Peter Laviolette was asked what he saw of Versteeg in last year's finals.
"He's a tenacious guy that does a lot of things well. He can kill penalties, play on the power play, he can play on the top line, play on the checking line. I think he's done a little bit of everything. If you look at our lineup and the way it runs, we're not really comprised of a first line. It's more we're built by numbers. I really just think he can come in and provide some more depth to that. Whether he plays with a Giroux, he plays with a Richards... I'm not sure if I'm going to do anything with Briere's line... He's an addition to that skill up front. I'm not sure exactly where it'll fit in line-wise, but I think just more depth."