For the second year in a row, the Carolina Hurricanes have made a deadline deal to send a pending free agent to the Los Angeles Kings. This year, winger Kris Versteeg is the recipient of a one-way ticket to the City of Angels, with the Canes receiving in return AHL right wing Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth-round pick, according to the usual hockey reporting suspects.
Versteeg was active during Sunday's game against the Blues but did not play a shift after the opening minutes of the second period. He missed only one game this season, posting 33 points in 63 games after coming over from the Blackhawks along with Joakim Nordstrom in the 2015 offseason.
The Florida Panthers, who traded Versteeg to the Blackhawks in 2013, were on the hook for half of Versteeg's $4.7 million salary this season, and the other half goes completely to the Kings. The Canes are unable to retain any more salaries after the trade earlier Sunday of Eric Staal to the Rangers, in which they retained half of Staal's salary.
Zykov is in his first professional season after spending four years in the QMJHL. The 20-year-old forward has spent the season with the AHL Ontario Reign, and is expected to join the Charlotte Checkers but could see time with the Canes before the end of the season.
More deals are possible Monday before the 3:00 trade deadline, with Riley Nash also leaving Sunday's game for undisclosed reasons and John-Michael Liles also reportedly drawing interest, so stay tuned.
UPDATED 11:30 PM - TEAM PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Feb. 28, 2016
‘CANES ACQUIRE ZYKOV IN EXCHANGE FOR VERSTEEG
Former second-round pick is in first professional season
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 right wing Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Kris Versteeg.
Zykov, 20, is in his first professional season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League (AHL), and has totaled seven goals and seven assists (14 points) in 43 games played. The St. Petersburg, Russia, native spent three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) before turning professional, notching 184 points (84g, 100 assists) in 162 games with Baie-Comeau and Gatineau. A second-round selection, 37th overall, of the Kings in the 2013 NHL Draft, Zykov (6'0", 209 lbs.) was the QMJHL's Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, after tallying 75 points (40g, 35a) as a 17 year old. He has represented Russia in several international tournaments, including the 2014 World Junior Championship.