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Kris Versteeg to Kings: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Carolina Hurricanes' Kris Versteeg (32) skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2017

With the NHL trade deadline on Monday, the Carolina Hurricanes reportedly finalized a deal Sunday that sent winger Kris Versteeg to the Los Angeles Kings, per Sportsnet's John Shannon.

According to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider, the Hurricanes will receive winger Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth-round pick.

This was the second move of the day for the Hurricanes, who announced they traded Eric Staal to the New York Rangers. General manager Ron Francis told the media the team was unable to reach an extension with Staal before the deadline, which necessitated the deal, per the Hurricanes' Twitter account. He went on to provide further details behind the team's decision to ship out the captain:

The same basic reasoning likely applied to Versteeg, who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Rather than losing the 29-year-old in the offseason for nothing, Carolina received the 20-year-old Zykov and a draft pick.

Versteeg has appeared in 63 games this year, scoring 11 goals and assisting on 22 more. According to NHL.com, he has averaged 1.93 points per 60 minutes, which is fourth on the Hurricanes and a respectable figure for somebody who won't feature on the first line.

However, the Kings will hope Versteeg steps up in the playoffs more than he did in the last two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. In 27 postseason games between 2013 and 2015, he had a total of five points.

Los Angeles leads the Pacific Division and will want to make a deep run in the postseason after missing out last year.

At the least, the team didn't part with a lot of major assets to acquire the nine-year veteran. Zykov has shown promise at times, but SB Nation's Jewels from the Crown hinted that his progression on the ice has stagnated:

In 43 games with the Ontario Reign in the AHL, Zykov has seven goals and seven assists.

Carolina will hope a change of scenery helps the Russian get his development back on track. There's still plenty of time for him to become an NHL regular, but a lack of marked improvement is a concern.

Still, the Hurricanes all but eliminated themselves from playoff contention when they traded Staal, and their position in the standings won't improve with Versteeg leaving as well. If Carolina is committed to its long-term plan, taking a chance on Zykov makes sense ahead of the deadline. 

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