Forward Kris Versteeg's days as an NHL journeyman are over after he reached a four-year deal with the Florida Panthers worth $17.6 million.
Vesteeg saw action for the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and the Panthers in a span of one year after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010.
"Kris played an important role in our club's success last season and we are pleased to have reached a long-term contract agreement with him," GM Dale Tallon said after the team avoided arbitration with Versteeg with a contract worth $4.4 million annually.
"We look forward to his continued offensive production, as well as his off-ice contributions in the South Florida community," Tallon said.
"I think we both got a fair deal and we're both excited about what the future of the franchise can be. I was confident we were going to get something done," Versteeg said.
Tallon originally brought Versteeg to Chicago in 2007 and became a regular for the Blackhawks the following season and won the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Versteeg was traded to Toronto following Chicago's championship run mostly because of financial reasons but he didn't fit in with the Maple Leafs and was traded to Philadelphia for its playoff run.
Versteeg, acquired by Florida from Philadelphia on July 1, 2011, is coming off the best season of his career, scoring 23 goals and adding 31 assists for 54 points in 71 games to help the Panthers win the first division title in franchise history.
He posted his best season while playing in Florida's top line along with Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann.
"I loved playing with those guys," Versteeg said. "They made me a better player."
Versteeg scored three goals and five points in Florida's seven playoff games but the Panthers lost their opening-round series to New Jersey.
He underwent hip surgery to correct a problem that bothered him for much of the season but Tallon said he's "100 percent" going into the new season.
Versteeg said he expects to be back on the ice in mid-August and will be ready for training camp in September.
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