A couple of weeks ago, the Carolina Hurricanes completed a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis announced that the team acquired forwards Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom as well as a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for defensemen Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie, and a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
I think this is an outstanding move for the ‘Canes.
I recently wrote about the lack of aggression the Hurricanes have had in going after good players. (You can read it here). This trade is not a blockbuster, but it is likely to help Carolina immediately.
Obviously, Francis would not have made the trade if he did not agree that it is an outstanding move. Francis said,
“Kris is a skilled forward who has won a pair of Cups with the Blackhawks and can provide veteran leadership in our room. Joakim is a solid, 200-foot player who can kill penalties. This gives us more options up front for this season, while also now giving us 10 picks in the first three rounds over the next two drafts.”
Clearly this is a positive transaction for the Hurricanes that could have an instant impact on the team. No the ‘Canes did not just trade for Stamkos or Crosby, but Versteeg will likely help the team a great deal.
Versteeg brings good experience to the Hurricanes. Their locker room will be positively impacted by his having won the Stanley Cup twice with the Blackhawks. The team is going through an attempt by Coach Bill Peters to change its culture. Perhaps Versteeg, with the taste of hockey’s ultimate success fresh from last June, will be able to lead by example in hard work and pressing through.
— Jason Kasper (@JasonKasper1994) September 17, 2015
Staal and Cam Ward won a Cup together 2006. The locker room not only needs their memories of past success, but the reality of recent success in its midst. Versteeg is a winner and the ‘Canes need that desperately.
With the release of Alexander Semin who contributed essentially nothing to the Hurricanes last season, along with questions as to Jeff Skinner’s aggressiveness at the net in the wake of his concussions, the Hurricanes need forward help. Versteeg can provide that help.
The ‘Canes are his fifth team in the NHL. He’s had point totals as high as 53 and 54, compiling 34 last season in Chicago. I think Versteeg will put up between 25 and 35 points with the Hurricanes this season, and that will be nice.
Francis did not light the world on fire with also getting Joakim Nordstrom in the trade with the Blackhawks. Nordstrom is 23 years old and has yet to play a full season in the NHL. Peters likes him:
Coach Peters on Joakim Nordstrom: "He's quick, real quick. Intelligent player. We're gonna let him make plays and see what he's all about."
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) September 21, 2015
Whether or not his play at center will finally launch him into a full season on the big stage, or whether he will be playing with the Charlotte Checkers has yet to be determined. It’s likely he will be enjoying Charlotte for the most part.
The addition of Versteeg and the potential of Nordstrom makes this an outstanding move by Francis. Winning experience, veteran leadership and a young prospect with potential is very good for the Hurricanes.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.