Kris Versteeg Set to Make Kings Debut
Thursday's contest against the Canadiens is the Kings' first game since the trade deadline. That means debut time for veteran winger Kris Versteeg.
The injury to Marian Gaborik created a hole in the top nine forwards on the Kings, spurring them to acquire Carolina winger Kris Versteeg on the Sunday before the trade deadline. On Monday, the Kings announced that Versteeg would wear the number 10, making him the second to do so this year, and the third in two years. Is the number 10 cursed for the Kings? Let's consult writer Rich Hammond.
cc: Kris Versteeg— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) February 29, 2016
(and add Marco Sturm)
Versteeg was sought after because Teddy Purcell was already taken. But seriously, he was valued for his championship experience and his tenacity on offense. His connection to the Sutter family has also been well noted, as we covered yesterday, and also covered in these comments in his media availability.
So, where can we expect him to slot in, and what should we expect of him? Based on Wednesday's team practice, we can expect Versteeg to play to Carter's right on a line with Tanner Pearson. Pearson has no doubt been promoted due to his recent scoring streak, but the promotion of Toffoli (or demotion of Brown) is perhaps less expected given that Toffoli has always played with Carter when he is healthy. Nevertheless, this makes for a pretty good top six lineup!
Based on color coded jerseys, Versteeg appears to be grouped with Pearson, Carter.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) March 2, 2016
As far as individual production, Versteeg has typically produced around a second to third line level. Let's look at his HERO chart below.
As you can see, over the past three years, Versteeg has produced offense at a second line rate and posted possession numbers as good as most first liners. That's pretty darn good. When it comes to consistency, Versteeg has put up three 20 goal seasons in his nine years in the NHL. Amazingly, he's never had a season of 80 games or more, so a lot of his low to mid teen numbers would work their way towards 20 goals over a full season. That all looks pretty good, so we should definitely expect some production out of him. Let's just hope the curse of the 10 stays away until after the playoffs.