Did the Jets Miss Out on Kris Versteeg?

As the NHL preseason
rolls on, we slowly get to see what rosters will look like as new
players are brought in through trades, free agent signings, or NHL
ready prospects. General managers are continually looking for ways to
improve their team during this time and as a result, we hear about
trade rumours.

One such rumour
regarding the Winnipeg Jets popped up in Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts. Thought number six reads, “Word is
Winnipeg was another team taking a long look at Kris Versteeg. Not
exactly sure what would go back the other way, but it wouldn’t be a
surprise if something creative like injured Grant Clitsome’s
contract was part of the conversation.”

Instead of being
traded to the Jets, the Carolina Hurricanes ended up trading for the
winger.

Versteeg was
packaged in a deal with Joakim Nordstrom and a 2017 3rd
round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for defence prospect Dennis
Robertson, Jake Massie and a 5th round pick in the 2017
NHL draft. The trade was essentially a $2.2 Million salary dump for the Blackhawks
who have been in salary cap trouble all off-season.

Versteeg, 29, had 34
points (14 goals, 20 assists) over 63 games during the 2014-15
regular season with the Chicago Blackhawks and potted 1 goal and 1
assist while playing in 12 playoff games. Kris Versteeg’s most common
linemates during the 2014-15 regular season were Patrick Kane and
Brad Richards against soft minutes. As a result, he had pretty good possession numbers.

As Friedman
speculated, the Jets may have tried to include Grant Clitsome’s
$2.067 Million cap hit in a deal that would have included Versteeg.
This may have been the stopping point in negotiations between the
Jets and Blackhawks. As you can see with the trade, Versteeg’s $2.2 Million cap hit and $4.7 million owed in salary was the
only real salary included with the trade. Part of the issue with Versteeg’s contract is the fact that the actual salary owed is $4.7 Million. The Jets are a known budget team and would seriously be handicapped to make any future moves if any. The reason for the Blackhawks trading Versteeg was to alleviate cap issues so they could sign Marcus Kruger. Taking on Clitsome’s contract would not make sense.

When there are players like Curtis Glencross and Brad Boyes available for cheaper and able to put up similar points totals without giving up any assets, there is no point making a trade for Kris Versteeg. 

The real question
is, did the Winnipeg Jets miss out on the Versteeg trade?

Not at the
moment. Cheveldayoff wants young players to make the Jets opening
night roster and having Versteeg on the roster would take a spot that
a rookie is fighting for. However, if Jet rookies fail to crack the
line up, then Jets management may be kicking themselves for not
trading for Versteeg.