The winds of change continue to blow in stormy South Florida.
Having already relieved former head coach Kevin Dineen and his assistants of their duties last week, Florida Panthers’ General Manager Dale Tallon made his first big roster move on Thursday night as RW Kris Versteeg and LW Phillippe Lefebvre were traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for RW Jimmy Hayes and D Dylan Olsen.
“We are pleased to welcome both Jimmy and Dylan to the Panthers,” said Tallon in the team’s press release. “Jimmy is a young, strong, hardworking, versatile forward who brings both size and skill to our team. Dylan, a former first round draft pick, is a young, solid defenseman who adds further depth to our blue line. We thank Kris for his contributions to the Panthers, including helping us win the 2011-2012 Southeast Division Championship, and wish him the best of luck in his return to Chicago.”
In just over two seasons with the Panthers, Versteeg totaled 65 points (27G-38A-65P), but had begun to struggle in the year’s since the team’s improbable playoff run in 2011. Prior to being traded, Versteeg tallied 7 points (2G-5A-7P) for the Panthers this season.
In exchange for Versteeg, the Panthers will be getting two young skaters in Hayes and Olsen who both still have a lot to prove at the NHL level.
Hayes, 23, has played in 43 career NHL games with the Blackhawks, scoring 13 points (6G-7A-13P) and 16 PIM. The 6-foot-6, 221-pound forward has both the size and physicality that Tallon has tried to stock up on in Florida.. This season, Hayes has recorded eight points (4G-4A-8P) in 13 games with Rockford (AHL), while also appearing in two games for the Blackhawks.
Olsen,22, has played in 28 career NHL games with the Blackhawks and registered a lone assist and six PIM during his brief stint in the NHL. This season, he has played in 18 games with Rockford (AHL), recording eight assists and eight PIMs.
We here at Panther Parkway wish Kris Versteeg the best as he enters the next stage of his career.
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