The Philadelphia Flyers
made a bold move Monday night as they acquired right wing Kris Versteeg
from the Toronto Maple Leafs
in exhange for a first- and third-round pick at the 2011 Entry Draft.
The Maple Leafs, who acquired Versteeg from Chicago last summer, are currently 12th overall in the Eastern Conference.
"Kris is an exciting young forward," Flyers GM Paul 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."
Versteeg, who has 14 goals and 21 assists this season in Toronto, should bolster an already potent offense -- the Flyers are third in the League in goals per game. The acquisition is a sign that Philadelphia is loading up for what could be another run to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Flyers' 36-year championship drought is among the longest in the NHL.
While this will provide an opportunity for Versteeg to return to the playoffs, it is a bizarre reversal of position for the 24-year-old Alberta native. Versteeg played a pivotal role for the Chicago Blackhawks
last June, when they defeated Philadelphia in the Stanley Cup Final to win their first championship in 49 years. Facing the pressure of an impending salary cap crunch, the Blackhawks dealt Versteeg to Toronto last offseason in exchange for Viktor Stalberg
, Chris DiDomenico and Phillippe Paradis.
"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."
Versteeg tallied 14 points in 22 games last postseason.