The 33-year-old forward, who last played in the NHL with the Flames in 2018, had 358 points (149 goals, 209 assists) in 643 regular-season games with the Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, Flyers, Panthers, Hurricanes, Kings and Flames. He had 48 points (18 goals, 30 assists) in 93 playoff games.
Versteeg found most of his success with Chicago, where he scored 164 points (68 goals, 96 assists) in 294 regular-season games in five seasons (2007-10, 2013-15) and 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 66 playoff games.
Versteeg’s journey with the Blackhawks organization began in February 2007 when he was acquired from Boston for Brandon Bochenski. Versteeg then played the rest of that season with the Norfolk Admirals before the Blackhawks moved its AHL affiliate to Rockford. He tallied 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in the regular season and added 11 points (six goals, five assists) in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Versteeg then earned a full-time NHL roster spot and helped the Blackhawks end their Stanley Cup drought in 2010 before he was traded to Toronto in a multi-player trade that summer. He played for Toronto, Philadelphia and Florida before being brought back to Chicago in November 2013. He played the next two seasons with the Blackhawks and won a second Cup in 2015 then was traded again to Carolina, where he played before stops in Los Angeles and Calgary.
He then went overseas and split time between Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League and the Vaxjo Lakers Hockey Club of the Swedish Hockey League. He rejoined the Blackhawks organization this season as captain for the IceHogs, and had one assist in six games before parting ways in November. He played his final professional game in Slovakia as teammates with his brother, Mitch, playing for the Slovak Extraliga HK Nitra.
Statement from Kris Versteeg:
“What a run it was. A kid from North Lethbridge who played on the streets every day, dreaming of playing in the NHL. I took a lot for granted in my time in the NHL. But the one thing I never took for granted were the relationships I made with my teammates and staff of the hockey clubs I played for. A bunch of people have made huge impacts on my life. There was one guy who took a kid with a different personality and a massive chip on his shoulder and helped give him hope, and that was Scott Gordon. Dale Tallon also took a chance on me and gave me multiple opportunities throughout my career. I know I wasn’t always the easiest to deal with. Without people like Scott and Dale, the road to today would not be what it was.
“Thanks to my agent Dave Kaye, and my finance advisor Chris Moynes for the last 15 years. Thank you to every organization I was able to play for. I didn’t realize it then, but I certainly appreciate now how amazing it was to play in the NHL. I want to thank the Chicago Blackhawks’ entire organization, from top to bottom, especially including the fans. The 2010 Championship was the highlight of my career. I also want to thank Brad Treliving for letting me come home to finish my NHL career. As a person and a GM, he made a huge impact on me.
“My grandparents Morris and Joanne helped pay for skates and equipment, while feeding us when we couldn’t afford it. They are my real heroes for keeping me and my brothers in the rinks and off the streets. I’m both nervous and excited for what comes next. I have a wife who has supported me endlessly, two boys and a daughter who all have their journeys ahead of them, and I’m excited to see where those might lead. Lastly, a special thanks to my Mom and Dad. I could thank you guys for a thousand things, but it all leads back to saying thank you for the hockey stick. It may be going on the rack, but the endless amount of amazing memories it gave our entire family will be etched in our minds forever.”