According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Monday, the Flyers have traded a 2011 first and third-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Kris Versteeg.
Considered a solid two-way forward, Versteeg, who has 14 goals and 21 assists in 53 games this season with Toronto, gives the Flyers’ already deep lineup even more potency. The Alberta-native will likely take the place of Nik Zherdev or Andreas Nodl as a top-nine winger. With little cap space and next to no young talent coming through the prospect pipeline, this move solidifies the Flyers’ intention of going boom or bust to bring home the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Versteeg, 24, comes accompanied by a $3.08 cap hit through 2012-13. He is a strong, versatile winger who plays above his 5’10, 182 lbs. frame. Originally drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, Versteeg was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, where he flourished with back-to-back 20-goal seasons from 2008-10, and was a key contributor in Chicago’s Stanley Cup win over the Flyers. After the Cup win and due to salary cap issues, the Blackhawks were forced to trade away a handful of talent. This included Versteeg, who was dished to Toronto for Viktor Stalberg and prospects.
The 2011 first-round selection will be fourth consecutive first-round pick the Flyers have traded away. Since drafting James van Riemsdyk second overall in 2007, the Flyers have traded both 2008 picks, including Luca Sbisa, with the 2009 and 2010 picks going to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Chris Pronger.