With training camp just days away, the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes have made the first big player swap of the fall. The big piece in the deal is forward Kris Versteeg, who will be heading to Carolina with fellow ‘Hawk Joakim Nordstrom and a 2017 3rd round draft pick.
Going the other way are defensemen Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie, along with a 2017 5th round pick.
One of the big stories of this trade is the exchange of funds that will help the cap-crunched Blackhawks manage the salary cap a little better heading into the season. It will also allow them to get RFA Marcus Kruger on contract soon. It wouldn’t be surprising if a deal with Kruger is announced very soon.
The 22-year-old Robertson has one year left on a deal that pays him $622,500. Massie is currently not on contract and was a 6th round pick for the ‘Canes in the 2015 draft. The 18-year-old defenseman will be a freshman at UMASS Amherst this season.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) September 11, 2015
Carolina takes on Versteeg’s $2.2 million deal with a single year left on it, as well as as Nordstrom’s $605,000 deal that has one year left on it.
That means Chicago clears room and isn’t taking on any new salary with the NHL club. According to Cap Friendly the team has around $2.4-2.7 million in cap space remaining, depending on who winds up on the team out of training camp.
Personnel-wise, Chicago’s defense remains solid, but there are depth concerns for the team, which remain, but they bring in two young defensemen who can continue to develop and provide potential solutions in the future.
Versteeg has been a bit of a journeyman and is only 29 (he’s played with four NHL teams and had two separate stints with Chicago), but he’ll contribute in Carolina and likely get a larger role there than he would in Chicago. He played 61 games last year, putting up 14 goals and 20 assists. Nordstrom played 38 games in the NHL last year, scoring no goals and three assists.
The additions of Versteeg and Nordstrom will add some depth to Carolina’s forward group, which has some nice pieces in the top six, but thins out quickly, while their defense is in much better shape.
It also allows Versteeg to be away for Chicago’s fourth Stanley Cup and then to come back for their fifth, since he’s only participating in every other Cup run with Chicago.