September 1: Versteeg has officially inked a one-year deal with Avangard Omsk, the KHL team announced (link in Russian).
August 17: The market for veteran NHL players hasn’t really materialized, and several have found their way overseas already. Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma both signed in Switzerland, Toby Enstrom is eyeing a return to Sweden and Paul Postma ended up in the KHL. Well, Postma looks like he’ll get some company in the Russia-based league, as Kris Versteeg is set to sign with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. Player agent Aljosa Pilko first reported that Versteeg was headed to the KHL, and Igor Eronko of Sport-Express passed on news that it will be Avangard that signs him. There has not yet been an official announcement, but this likely signals the end of any NHL dreams for Versteeg this season.
If you looked up “journeyman” in the NHL dictionary, you might find a picture of Versteeg smiling back at you. After being drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2004, Versteeg would play for three AHL organizations before making his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008. A few years and one Stanley Cup later, he’d find himself on the Toronto Maple Leafs and then Philadelphia Flyers during the 2010-11 season. Less than three years with the Florida Panthers and he was back with Chicago to win another Stanley Cup, before splitting the 2015-16 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings. Finally, he settled in with the Edmonton Oilers on a professional tryout—before immediately signing with the Calgary Flames and playing there for the last two seasons.
It’s not that Versteeg isn’t a good player and couldn’t find success at each stop, much the opposite. The versatile forward scored at least 0.41 points per game at each stop save the 14 games he played for the Kings, and leaves the NHL with 358 points in 643 games. That includes four 20-goal seasons, and generally positive possession statistics throughout his career. Unfortunately, injuries stole most of his 2017-18 season and now it looks as though it might be the end of the line in the NHL. Versteeg turned 32 in May, and might not get many more chances to play in North America unless he’s willing to take a minor league contract.