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Hurricanes Feast On Blackhawks’ Cap Woes, Acquire Kris Versteeg And Joakim Nordstrom

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GM Ron Francis filled a big hole up front, acquiring veteran right wing Kris Versteeg, along with left Joakim Nordstrom and a third round in 2017, for defensemen Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie and a fifth-rounder in 2017.

The Hurricanes acquired 2015 Stanley Cup champions Joakim Nordstrom, left, and Kris Versteeg, right, from the cap-strapped Blackhawks.
The Hurricanes acquired 2015 Stanley Cup champions Joakim Nordstrom, left, and Kris Versteeg, right, from the cap-strapped Blackhawks.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes had a big hole at right wing with training camp approaching. No more.

Carolina grabbed two-time Stanley Cup champion Kris Versteeg from the cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks Friday, acquiring the three-time 20-goal scorer, forward Joakim Nordstrom and a third-round pick in exchange for defensemen Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie and a fifth-round pick.

Versteeg, 29, should slot in Carolina’s top nine to start the season, and while he carries a $4.4 million cap hit, half of that was retained by the Florida Panthers when they dealt the winger to Chicago in November 2013.

The deal is a cap dump for the Hawks, who gave up the more established players and the higher draft pick — both are in 2017 — in exchange for the $2.2 million in space they will save. The deal even benefits Carolina if the team is not in the playoff hunt come the spring: Versteeg could be a valuable trade commodity for a team looking to add Stanley Cup experience.

The Hurricanes also get Nordstrom, a versatile defensive forward who played 38 regular season and three postseason games for Chicago during their Stanley Cup-winning season last year. He is one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $605,000 in the NHL and $67,500 in the AHL. He should compete for a fourth-line spot in training camp.

For their part, the Hurricanes don't give up much. Robertson — who was acquired from Toronto in the deal that sent Tim Gleason to the Leafs two seasons ago — had a solid second half last season, but Carolina has a glut of young defensemen aiming for ice time and Charlotte, and losing him isn't much of a blow. Massie — a sixth round pick by Carolina at this summer’s draft — has potential, but he won't even head to college (UMass-Amherst) until next fall.

Here is the release from the team:

‘CANES ACQUIRE VERSTEEG, NORDSTROM FROM ‘HAWKS
Carolina also gets a third-rounder for Robertson, Massie and a fifth-rounder

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has acquired forwards Kris Versteeg (vuhr-STEEG) and Joakim Nordstrom (JOH-keem NORD-struhm) and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for defensemen Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie and a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

"Kris is a skilled forward who has won a pair of Cups with the Blackhawks and can provide veteran leadership in our room," said Francis. "Joakim is a solid, 200-foot player who can kill penalties. This gives us more options up front for this season, while also now giving us 10 picks in the first three rounds over the next two drafts."

Versteeg, 29, ranked eighth among Blackhawks skaters in scoring in 2014-15, totaling 34 points (14g, 20a) and a plus-11 rating in 61 games played. The Lethbridge, Alb., native added two points (1g, 1a) in 12 playoff games to win his second career Stanley Cup championship with Chicago. A fifth-round selection (134th overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Versteeg (5’11", 176 lbs.) has totaled 275 points (116g, 159a) in 473 career NHL games with Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia and Florida.

Nordstrom, 23, split the 2014-15 season between the Blackhawks and their top minor-league affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. The Stockholm native earned three assists in 38 games on the NHL level with Chicago and had 16 points (9g, 7a) in 23 AHL games for the IceHogs. He also appeared in three Stanley Cup playoff games to win his first career Stanley Cup. Nordstrom (6’1", 189 lbs.) was Chicago’s third-round selection (90th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has appeared in two seasons with the Blackhawks, totaling one goal and five assists (6 points) in 54 career NHL games.