With so much of the spotlight on Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, it seems unlikely that another young star on the Chicago Blackhawks would have an opportunity to shine. A young fifth-round left winger seems to be making his case for a share of the attention, though.
Kris Versteeg has greatly developed since being drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2005, working his way through the AHL ranks up to the first line in Chicago. Now paired with 2007-08 Calder Memorial Trophy winner Patrick Kane and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, Versteeg can only improve his game. And, make no mistake, he will.
Versteeg was acquired in a trade with the Bruins in 2007 for Brandon Bochenski and played the majority of last year's season with the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. The 22-year-old made only 13 appearances with the Hawks last season, notching two goals and two assists. This season, in only 11 appearances to date, he has scored twice and racked up eight assists.
With 10 points in 11 games, Versteeg brings not only the athleticism of his youth, but his ability to read the ice and make plays. On Oct. 11, he scored his first goal of the season 26 seconds into a road game at Washington. On Nov. 1, he recorded two assists against the Columbus Blue Jackets, his third multi-point game of the season. He tallied a five-game consecutive point streak from Oct. 15 Oct. 25. The numbers don't lie, the guy is explosive.
Though the season is young, Versteeg continues to contribute greatly to the Hawks. Expect quite a few more helpers and the occasional goals from this rising star.