Staff Report Cards : Kris Versteeg

Tonight we discuss the disappointing season of Kris Versteeg.

All situations
5 on 5 on-ice
5 on 5
CF% rel
GF% rel
ZS% rel
Regular Season 81 12 24 36 14.2 8.1 7.60% 7 54.20% 0.60% 48.70% -2.10% 7.40% 91.40% 98.8 61.80% 10.00% 24.70% 38.00% 1.20% 28.30% 29.50%
Playoffs 15 1 2 3 10.7 5.4 6.30% -1 41.70% -10.30% 27.30% -24.70% 6.80% 90.00% 96.8 49.50% -1.80% 18.90% 25.10% 0.00% 27.30% 28.20%

I remember driving home from the Blackhawks 5-4 shootout win over the Coyotes, on November 14th, when I heard the news that Kris Versteeg was coming back to Chicago. Stan Bowman had to give up both Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen, two youngsters without a spot in Chicago, in order to get Dale Tallon to pay half of Versteeg's $4.4 million dollar salary. I am not going to lie to you; I was giddy as all hell when I heard about the trade. I loved Kris Versteeg in 2009 & 2010, and I was excited that I could dust off my old 32 red sweater with the 2010 Stanley Cup Final patch. But, little did I know that was going to be the most excitement Versteeg would whip up during his season with the Blackhawks.

Versteeg's first game back, a 7-2 beating in Nashville, should have been an ominous sign. Rumor had it that the team was out celebrating his return the night before and the results on the ice sure looked like it. Versteeg picked up four points in his first four games back and finished with 29 (10 G, 19) in his 63 games in Chicago. That isn't awful production for a bottom six player and not far below his career average of 0.58 points per game. His possession numbers were not terrible either. He finished the regular season with a 54.6 CF% which was the 10th best on the team. The team's save percentage was 93% when Versteeg was on the ice, which was the highest of any Blackhawk. He had a 69% point share, meaning he had a point in 69% of the goals scored when he was on the ice, the 5th best on the team. He was often criticized for his defense, but he was eight among the forwards with 24 takeaways.

Again, those are nice numbers for a bottom six forward but when you consider the four players he spent the most time on ice with were Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith you'd expect to see better numbers across the board. You can sugar coat the numbers all you want but the bottom line is Kris Versteeg was bad, real bad. He was given plenty of time to play on the second line and got nearly two minutes a night on the power play but could not produce at a consistent rate.

I loved the Kris Versteeg who wore 32, but the Kris Versteeg who wore 23 was hot garbage. The bad decision making we were used to seeing out of the young Versteeg was still part of his game. Back in 2010, he had the speed to make up for those mistakes but less than a year removed from major knee surgery, the speed just wasn't there. He passed when he should of shot and shot when he should have passed. He tried to skate through multiple defenders only to turnover the puck. Too many of the same mental mistakes are inexcusable. Joel Quenneville grew weary of the bad play during the playoffs and benched him once against the Wild and again against the Kings. Even when he was in the lineup his playing time was dramatically decreased. He skated less than 10 minutes in a third of the games he played in, including just 3:44 in the season ending loss to Los Angeles.

Many people want Stan Bowman to ease the salary cap strain by sending Versteeg packing this summer. Unfortunately, I don't see much of a market for the 28 year old winger. The best the Hawks can hope for is that a full summer of rehab can get Versteeg somewhat back to the player we traded away in the summer of 2010. If he can be productive next season I could see Bowman moving him within the season. Hopefully he will more productive not only for the team's sake but so he can also no longer lead the NHL in making fans break the 4th Commandment.

Final Grade : D

What do you expect out of Kris Versteeg next season?

15+ goals40
Playing for another team49
Another bad haircut36
Loaded into a cannon, by Q, and shot directly into the sun48