NHL

McKenzie: Versteeg never really meshed with Maple Leafs

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Bob McKenzie
2/15/2011 9:19:21 AM
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Kris Versteeg never really fully meshed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Month-by-month his ice-time was decreasing, to the point where he was at a season-low on Saturday night against Montreal.

He did not play as well for this young Toronto Maple Leaf team as he did with the Chicago Blackhawks, and as he is expected to play with the Philadelphia Flyers where they have a stacked line-up and he will be able to step in in much the same sort of role as he did with the Blackhawks last year when they won the Stanley Cup.

In terms of what the Maple Leafs get back, they get a first-round pick that belongs to the Philadelphia Flyers. That's going to be a late first-round pick, but is a first-round pick nonetheless. My understanding is the Leafs will hold onto that pick, closely guard it, and keep it for sure.

But Toronto also gets a third-round pick in the deal, and I've already talked to some NHL general managers who said that Brian Burke is already in the process of finding out what tangible assets that he can get as part of another package that will be using that third-rounder as bait. It doesn't necessarily mean that they have given up on the season by any stretch of the imagination, but they are trying to parlay that right now.

Versteeg wasn't playing really well anyway and I think he'll probably take a huge step forward with the Philadelphia Flyers, who are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

At this point in time, taking him out of the Toronto lineup - you saw the Ottawa Senators, they trade Mike Fisher for draft picks, and they proceed to win a hockey game - something they hadn't been able to do with Fisher in the lineup. Teams react different ways.

I do believe that there will be more bodies flying out the door in Toronto. Brian Burke wants to be very busy over the next two weeks before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

Kris Versteeg breaks stick (Photo: Graig Abel/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Graig Abel/Getty Images)
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