The Nashville Predators are only a player or two away from where they need and want to be.
The Nashville Predators will possibly be looking for viable options in free agency to add to the forward group. Perhaps adding some scoring depth to make a push in the post season next year. Kris Versteeg is one of many forwards who could be looking for a new home this offseason, and I’m sure a few teams will be taking a look at this veteran goal scorer.
Versteeg is a 5’11” 176 pound right wing who has been around the league the last few years. He was in Chicago during their Stanley Cup runs in 2010 and 2015. He’s also spent some time with the Florida Panthers, but most recently he split time between the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings to finish his 9th season in the league.
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He’s a guy who has shown moderate success as a depth forward, and it has rewarded him when he was in Chicago with those two championship seasons. The question then becomes can he bring a similar success to another contending team such as the Nashville Predators.
What does he bring to the Nashville Predators
Like a lot of the big names in free agency Kris Versteeg has tons of experience. At 30 years old Versteeg has already won two Stanley Cups, and has played on a few good teams in the past including the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010-2011 season under our very own Peter Laviolette. Is it just me or has the past three free agents now that I’ve done all played for Lavy?
So once again I get to say this statement. Versteeg has played under Laviolette so he knows the system. Granted he was only in Philly for 27 games and the postseason that year, but he’s got a bit of an edge to most free agents who haven’t played for Laviolette.
Let’s look at his stats from this season
Regular Season Stats in Carolina:
63 games played, 11 goals, 22 assists, 33 points, minus -6 player rating, 2 powerplay goals, 9 powerplay points, and 136 shots on net
Regular Season Stats in Los Angeles:
14 games played, 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points, plus +6 player rating, no powerplay goals, no powerplay points, and 20 shots on net
Post Season Stats in Los Angeles:
5 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, 0 player rating, and 5 shots on net
Overall Versteeg had a decent season, but he played a lot better in Carolina than Los Angeles. Versteeg isn’t really a wow guy anymore in my opinion, but if you watch him play he goes after it. He’s had two 50 point seasons and a few 30 point season, but has never put up consist
Maybe on a line like that he could get some of those rebound goals or dirty in the goalie crease type goals.
What will he Cost?
This last season Kris Versteeg was making roughly 4 million dollars, and that could be the same amount he could be looking for with his new team. For the Preds I would say that’s a steep price to pay for a possible third line guy. Polie has worked magic before convince those one year prove it salaries, so you never know what we could get him for. I will say he could, once again, be one of those players looking for a contender over money, but we don’t really know what they are planning for their future until they do it.
Should Nashville go get him?
If Poile and Laviolette decided to bring on Versteeg I would see him playing more of a third line role. If we look at the roster as is then I would say you’d leave the Forsberg, Ribiero, and Smith line alone and maybe look at free agency to add to that first line with Neal and Johansen. Looking at Versteegs career though, he’s not exactly first line potential.
He’s had two or three 20 goal seasons early in his career, but has mellowed out to more of a teens goal scorer. Something that concerns me is his play in the postseason. Looking at his career postseason stats, they don’t really jump out at me. His most successful postseason was back in 2010 Chicago Cup year where he had 6 goals, 8 assists, and 14 points. After that he simmered to a couple of goals and a handle of points.
The Nashville Predators need some tough goals in some tough moments, especially in the San José series, so with that in mind it worries me a bit that maybe when we need goals the most Versteeg may not be able to get some behind the goalie.
Overall I’m gonna take a pass on Kris Versteeg joining the Predators. He’s had a couple up and down years and more importantly his postseason play doesn’t impress. I mean Colin Wilson struggled last season, but he showed up when he was needed most in the playoffs. 4 million is a steep price for Versteeg and I just don’t see a good spot for him on this roster.