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With only a few days to go before the July 1st free agency window opens up teams are finalizing their targets and preparing offers. A lot of the players we’ve examined here at Devils Army Blog are projected first or second line forwards or top-four defenseman, but in this article we will be looking at a forward who has made an incredible career as a role player. Kris Versteeg, a 31-year old forward, is a perfect example of an individual that has made a great impact as a career third-liner.
Versteeg was recently a part of the Calgary Flames playoff team last year. He racked up 37 points (15 goals and 22 assists) in 69 games and proved to be an asset in the playoffs, as he was upgraded to a top-six role and tallied another four points in four games. The playoff success that Versteeg found in the 2016-17 season wasn’t a fluke, either. He has thrived in the playoffs as he’s lifted the Stanley Cup twice in his career and has 48-career playoff points in 93-career playoff games. When examining Versteeg’s regular season statistics, we notice he has a knack for scoring goals. He has 146 for his career and averages 19.3 goals per 82 games, a solid number. He also has a good shot as shown by his career shooting percentage, which is 11.2%.
A knock that can be contributed to Versteeg’s game is his defense. As a player that has had the luxury to play on many good teams, Versteeg is only a career +17, which may not seem bad at all but as a player who has played for the teams such as the Blackhawks, Kings, and the Flames, a higher +/- would make sense. That being said, Versteeg has been a decent shot suppressor over the last three seasons, averaging 51.1 shot attempts against per 60 minutes, so he does limit shots when he’s on the ice.
After reading the top portion of this article you can quickly see that Kris Versteeg would not be a fit for the rebuilding Devils. Approaching his 32nd birthday Versteeg is getting to that age where he would be a great asset to playoff teams who are in the hunt for a solid veteran presence on their bottom two lines. Whether we would like to admit it or not, the Devils are not projecting to be a playoff team in the 2017-18 season with this current roster. Don’t get me wrong, if the Devils find themselves in playoff contention come the trade deadline Versteeg would look great in the red and black but for right now, he would be best on a projected playoff contender.
Statistics gathered from: Hockey Analysis.