Kris Versteeg was an instrumental part of the magical Stanley Cup run last year by the Chicago Blackhawks, as he scored 14 points in 22 games to help bring the Cup back to the Windy City. In fact, no team probably understands that better than the Philadelphia Flyers, who lost to the Hawks in six games in the Finals.
Trade rumors have swirled around Philadelphia, with most of the buzz surrounding their desire to add another forward to their squad as they continue their run towards the Eastern Conference's first seed and yet another deep playoff run. After sending defenseman Matt Walker to the AHL to free up cap space, many speculated that it was only a matter of time before the Flyers "got their man."
But did they spend too much for Versteeg?
By sending away their first- and third-round draft picks to acquire him, the Flyers are certainly giving up a lot of potential future gains for help in the short term. Although Versteeg is still young, at only 24, can he really help a Flyer squad that already boasts the deepest group of forwards in the NHL?
Philadelphia so far has been able to win consistently through balanced scoring across all four lines, forcing opposing teams to defend a full 60 minutes and not allowing an opponent's checking line to neutralize their offense. In many ways, adding Kris Versteeg is adding more of the same, and not really addressing any gaps or shortcomings of the team.
If it isn't broke, why spend so much to fix it?
Can the goaltending tandem of rookie sensation Sergei Bobrovsky and veteran Brian Boucher hold up through the end of the season and into the playoffs? Will their current stock of defensemen be able to bottle up some of the more dynamic offenses in the league come playoff time—such as the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Pittsburgh Penguins, or a team like the Vancouver Canucks if they make the Finals?
Versteeg, while a talented player, simply doesn't fill a need for the Flyers. Forwards such as Ville Leino, Scott Hartnell and James van Riemsdyk have performed admirably all year long in a dual checking/offensive role, and trying to fit Versteeg into the rotation could do more harm than good for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.
It could also hurt the confidence of a slumping player like Andreas Nodl, who may end up in the AHL as a result of the deal.
The precedent has been set by the Mike Fisher deal, and the Flyers paid a similar price that the Nashville Predators paid. But Fisher directly addresses a hole that the Predators need to fill. Versteeg does not do the same for the Flyers, and even though their first-round pick will most likely end up being a bottom-10 (or bottom-five) pick, when paired with the third-rounder, they simply paid too much.
So what do you think? Did they pay too much? Is Versteeg a good fit? Does this put the Flyers over the edge and make them the favorites to win the Cup?
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