Photo: Harry How
Brian MacLellan has said the Caps intend to upgrade their third line this offseason. This is part of our series looking at free agents who the Caps may target.
We’re nearing the end of our free agent profiles, and today I present to you the holy grail. On July 1 Kris Versteeg will be a free agent, and he should be the Caps’ number one target. The only thing that could keep the Caps from signing Versteeg is his price tag. Bidding for his services may take it above what the cap-strapped Caps can afford. But, Matt Cane‘s salary predictions say Versteeg will get $2.6 million, which might be within the Caps range, depending on how negotiations look with the RFAs.
Let’s take a look at how awesome Versteeg is and why we’ll all take our shirts off and run around the block if the Caps sign him.
Courtesy of Own the Puck
Look at that HERO chart. Look at those stats. This man would be a gem of a third line player and we all know it. The only thing we don’t know is if his salary will end up well above where Cane’s model predicts it will. If yes, the Caps don’t stand a chance. But, if it falls somewhere around that $2.6 million prediction, the Caps have a shot.
The fact is, Versteeg could be a solid second-line player on a number of teams around the league, so it may be unrealistic to think he’d join a team where he’d likely slot in on the third line. But we’ve seen veteran players take less money or a lesser role before in order for a chance to win. The Caps have that as a selling point.
Until he signs elsewhere, I will dream. And if that dreams come true, let me again be clear that we will all be shirtless.
Like we’ve done with other players, let’s compare Versteeg to some players who have spent time as third liners for the Caps. The numbers are for the last 3 seasons at 5-on-5.
|Player||Points/60||Shot Attempt % (Relative)||Individual SA/60||Goals For %|
Score and venue-adjusted from Corsica
Jason Chimera has had career seasons and he’s not outproducing Versteeg by much. Marcus Johansson is a solid second-line player, and a great player to slot in on a third line, and Versteeg is outproducing him.
Look at those possession numbers! How alive do you feel right now?
This just keeps getting better. Versteeg shoots the puck a lot, too.
His goals-for percentage is better than any of the players he’s being compared to.
Versteeg has played with some amazing talents, as some of his most frequent linemates over the last three seasons include Patrick Kane, Eric Staal, and Jonathan Toews, but it’s not as if his play falls off a cliff once he’s away from these guys.
I’d bet against the Caps signing Versteeg. I think he’ll have a decent amount of suitors and it wouldn’t surprise me if his cap hit ended up somewhere around $3 million, which is likely too rich for the Caps. But, if they do sign him, let’s all agree to take our shirts off to celebrate.