In an unexpected twist, Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that due to complications regarding insurance, Kris Versteeg is returning to North America and will again be available as a free agent. Dreger followed up on his original tweet suggesting that hip surgery four years ago may have “prevented full coverage in Switzerland,” though the player is currently healthy. Versteeg had previously agreed to a one-year pact with SC Bern in the NLA league roughly six weeks ago. Now it appears his job search will have to continue.
Versteeg began the 2015-16 campaign with the Carolina Hurricanes where he netted 33 points in 63 contests before a trade deadline move sent the veteran forward west to Los Angeles in exchange for prospect Valentin Zykov and a fifth-round choice in the 2016 draft. He would tally four goals and five points for the Kings down the stretch before contributing a goal and an assist during the team’s first-round playoff loss to San Jose.
The nine-year NHL vet has won two cups with Chicago – 2009-10 and 2014-15 – and has appeared in games for six different clubs during his career. Versteeg has scored 131 goals and 313 points in 550 NHL contests.
It isn’t clear if the issues that have apparently derailed his deal with HC Bern – at least temporarily – are insurmountable or if the two sides will have an opportunity to work things out. However, if he can’t come to a resolution with the Swiss club, Versteeg would then immediately become the top free agent forward available for teams on the lookout for scoring depth. Versteeg has never recorded less than 0.4 points-per-game in a full season in the NHL and is versatile enough to contribute anywhere up-and-down a team’s lineup.