Earlier Monday afternoon, the Rockford IceHogs announced that they signed Kris Versteeg to a one-year, AHL level contract. Versteeg’s AHL contract is not transferable to the NHL, and he would be required to sign a new contract if the Blackhawks did want to call him up at any point during the 2019-20 season. The former two-time Stanley Cup champion last played in the NHL back in the 2017-18 season with the Calgary Flames. This is Versteeg’s third stint within the Chicago Blackhawks organization.
Kris Versteeg has bounced around the NHL since his second stint with the Blackhawks in 2015. He played for Carolina and Los Angeles in 2015-16, and then he signed with the Calgary Flames a day before the season opener in 2016-17. Versteeg began this past season in the KHL, where he tallied five points in 11 games for Avangard Omsk. Unfortunately, Versteeg contracted the shingles virus shortly after his KHL career began. He was granted his release from Avangard Omsk due to the illness and wasn’t sure if he would play professional hockey ever again. Miraculously, the 32-year-old Versteeg was cleared near the end of the season, and he finished the year with Vaxjo HC of the SHL. He recorded 11 points (4G, 7A) in 12 games to help Vaxjo HC qualify for the SHL playoffs.
While Versteeg will likely not play an NHL game with the Blackhawks next season, he is a solid veteran presence that is familiar with the organization. The Blackhawks will have a plethora of forward prospects in Rockford next year, such as Philipp Kurashev, Brandon Hagel, and Mackenzie Entwistle. Versteeg’s signing suggests that he is here to help these prospects make the jump to professional hockey. The Chicago Blackhawks young prospects could strongly benefit from the signing of Kris Versteeg.