With the February 28th trade deadline approaching quickly, one player whom opposing GM’s appear to be targeting on the Maple Leafs’ roster is Kris Versteeg, acquired this past offseason in a slightly controversial trade with the Blackhawks. Burke anted up three young pieces in speed demon Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chris Didomenico and Philippe Paradis, to land the versatile Cup winner, which led some to argue the price may have been a little too high. Considering that Versteeg has almost as many goals as Stalberg has points, Didomenico is in the ECHL and Paradis is in the midst of a mediocre overage season in the QMJHL, early returns appear positive.
When pressed by the media regarding which teams had inquired on diminutive winger, Burke’s reply was a simple “who hasn’t?”. CSN Philly reporter Tim Panaccio explains that Versteeg is likely on the Flyers’ radar for an upgrade at forward, but could cost 21 year old American power forward James Van Riemsdyk in return. Versteeg has also been recently linked to trade talks involving the Penguins, who are very much in the market for some scoring help, given the prolonged absences of Malkin and Crosby.
Just how well-rounded is Versteeg’s game? The 24 year old is one of only six NHL towards, along with Ryan Kesler, David Bolland, Paul Stastny, Patrick Sharp, and James Neal who can boast about having 20+ blocked shots, 20+ hits, 40+ takeaways, and a 2:1 takeaway/giveaway ratio, while still being on pace to produce at least 20 goals and 50 points. Not a bad group to be a part of. Plus, he already has a Cup ring on his finger at 24. As stated on numerous occasions by Burke, no one is untouchable if the right deal comes along, but I imagine that it’s going to take a significant offer to pry away such a promising young player.