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Versteeg thrilled to sign close to home

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Kris Versteeg knew what he wanted.

With a young family in tow, the 30-year-old's primary focus was finding a landing spot that was close to home. But without a contract, that meant plying his trade on a professional try-out agreement with the Edmonton Oilers and hoping he would earn a contract in Alberta.

Mission accomplished.

But not in the city he has spent the past month in.

The Calgary Flames signed the Versteeg to a one-year deal on Tuesday morning, adding depth to their forward corps heading into the 2016-17 campaign.

"It's the start of free agency and before July 1, I told my agent that at the personal level, I have two young children now and I want to be close to home," Versteeg told CalgaryFlames.com. "So Calgary and Edmonton we're two places that I really wanted to key in on and try to be a part of their organizations.

"I couldn't thank Edmonton enough for the opportunity coming into camp and through negotiations, we decided to wait a little longer and talking to the Flames and feeling their excitement, it made me excited.

"It's a huge part for me, being close to home with my family. Being on a team that's on the verge of winning, too …They're a young team with a lot of great young talent. There's a lot factors."

While he grew up with a 403 area code and spent a large chunk his junior career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Versteeg's childhood allegiances lay with the Flames' rivals up north thanks to his parents.

Mom and Dad, it seems, will have to swap allegiances in the Battle of Alberta.

"I was actually an Oilers fan growing up, so was my mother and my dad, but my grandparents are Flames fans, so there's always the argument within the family," he chuckled. "I was really never given the option, but for my parents now, they just cheer for whoever I play for. Their loyalty to teams changed the minute I started playing in the NHL."

The Versteeg's have held a few teams close to their hearts over the course of their son's career.

The winger, who was drafted 134th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2004, has played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, and LA Kings, dressing for 550 games. In that span, he has netted 131 goals and 313 points and has chipped in with 17 goals and 44 points in 89 playoff skates.

He has won the Stanley Cup twice, with the Blackhawks in 2010 and 2015, been armed with different responsibilities and roles throughout his career.

Given the timing of the signing, Versteeg has yet to talk to the coaching staff to see where they feel he will fit but he's confident he will be able to slide into the lineup seamlessly.

"I just see myself fitting in to any line and any role, I know I can play both wing positions and I've played throughout the lineup my entire career. 

"I can play with very high skill players and I can play with players that keep the game simple.

"For myself, it's trying to find a place in the lineup and I think I can do that."

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