Kris Versteeg: Flyers GM Paul Holmgren Has Got It Right Acquiring Left Winger
Paul Holmgren finally pulled the trigger, acquiring Kris Versteeg from the Maple Leafs for a first- and third-round draft pick.
Versteeg currently has 35 points from 53 games playing for an underperforming Toronto team, good enough for sixth best on a deep Flyers lineup. He was clearly brought in to be on a line with Mike Richards and is statistically far better than Richards' previous linemates, James van Riemsdyk and Andreas Nodl, who have 24 and 18 points respectively.
I personally think this trade was a masterstroke by Holmgren. Why? Because the Flyers haven't given up any major assets in order to acquire an ideal player. The team chemistry of the successful lines will not be upset, and he hasn't given up any important youth prospects like van Riemsdyk or Nodl.
With Versteeg on the Mike Richards line, the Flyers have a new dynamic. The Flyers now have three lines that are genuine scoring threats whenever they take to the ice. Not only that, all three front lines will be defensively capable. Who knows, mixing van Riemsdyk or Nodl on a line with Versteeg might provide some additional chemistry that can elevate their games and improve the team even further.
Some may point out that Versteeg currently has a +/- rating of -13, but I think this can be attributed to playing on a poor Maple Leafs team.
The only potential problem with Versteeg is his salary being just over $3 million. The Flyers are yet to re-sign Ville Leino, who has become an important part of the Flyers lineup and is due for a substantial raise. Having traded away a first-round draft pick, which is undoubtedly a good trading asset, it may be hard to manoeuvre enough cap space to keep Leino.
However, should the Flyers bring home Lord Stanley's Cup this year, it will be worth it.
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