Kris Versteeg (Right Wing) - Midseason Grade: B+
Our Individual Grades
Versteeg should get a “B” alone for choosing the Flames over the Oilers. Kris Versteeg was another one of those signings that if it didn’t work out for either party it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Fortunately it worked out for Versteeg and the Flames. The veteran winger posted a 37 point season (15G 22A) after being a last minute invite on a PTO with the Flames last fall. Versteeg logged valuable PP minutes, help solidify the Flames 3rd line with Sam Bennett and Alex Chiasson and who could forget his game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down where he saluted the crowd on his way to the dressing room. The Flames and ‘Steeger got their $950,000 worth this season for sure.
Well that was a nice post-training camp steal from the Oilers. For only 950,000 dollars, there’s very little you couldn’t like about this signing. Versteeg became one of the more versatile Flames in the lineup as he could be used in any situation and thrive. His cost-per-point was 12th lowest in the NHL among players on standard contracts. Versteeg at times dominated the offensive zone with adept playmaking and scoring, sometimes rivalling that of Johnny Gaudreau’s capability. As much as I’d like Vertseeg to be back next year, there is a chance he could get squeezed out with prospects coming up, which is really too bad.
There is an overwhelming desire to throw away the sample size with Versteeg that was played with Brouwer. Unfortunately the sample size away from Brouwer isn't particularly impressive. Sure his Corsi improved, but Fenwick was still lackluster and his expected goal differential was the second worst away from Troy Brouwer with only Curtis Lazar's small sample size being worse.
Versteeg did get points, but only 14 of them were primary points at even strength and only 25 of them were primary points. There was a lot of noise there - of 223 players he was 122nd in primary points per minute in all situations and of 257 forwards with over 750 minutes in five-on-five situations he ranked 180th in primary points per minute. That puts him at lower-end third line to upper-end fourth line production at even strength with sub-NHL level possession and decent power play strength - it's bewildering how he's won so many people over.
I think Kris Versteeg was a very nice complementary forward. Not a reliable game-changer, but there were quite a few games this season where he managed to be a difference maker and he was one of the better Flames in the playoffs. Like Sam Bennett, he was a different player when he was not stuck on Brouwer’s line. One nice feature about Versteeg was that he actually was willing to take shots on the first powerplay unit, something a lot of his teammates seemed incredibly adverse to.
I would not break the bank in terms of money or length of contract to resign him, but if he could be brought back for a couple of seasons at a reasonable price, why not?
Our Final Grade: B-
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