UPDATE: According to our old pal, Darren Dreger, the deal is $4.4 million per year. So it’s not hilarious after all.
Let’s think back to around this time last year. Well, maybe a little further in time. Like September. Yeah, think back to September. You feel that little thing in your brain that makes you feel kind of irritated? That’s the feeling of knowing that pre-season predictions are starting. Everywhere. I’m irritated just thinking about it. Both because of false hope for my Leafs (or, you know, not) and also because pre-season predictions are inherently ridiculous. Fun, sure, but ridiculous.
Rant aside, I bring this up because it seems the Kris Versteeg is due to make some more money in the future, re-upping with the Florida Panthers for four years. I like this signing. A lot. More than I care to admit for obvious reasons. That being said, not only is it a great signing for the Panthers (well, I guess it depends on how much money it turns out to be for. Then it could just be hilarious) but it also has to be the most Panthers-y signing I can think of. That sounds like an insult. It’s not. It’s what you might call a metaphor. Hear me out.
Think back to those predictions I was talking about (hah, I bet you thought it was a non sequitur). If you made one, or if you read any, where did you place the Panthers before last season? Unless you live in Florida, it was probably near the bottom (I was going to say unless you’re a Panthers fan but, come on, we all know those don’t exist outside of Florida). Then it turns out the Panthers were pretty good. Okay, kind of good. Okay, they happened to play in the Southeast Division (not entirely fair, they did have two more points than the Capitals and Senators who finished 7th and 8th. They would have made the playoffs anyway. Hah, take that…me). Anyway, like I said, they had a way better season than anyone had any right suggesting they would.
Now, think back to Versteeg’s past few seasons before joining the Panthers. His point totals from 2008-2011 were 53, 44, 46. Now, I’m not saying that Versteeg was becoming a bad player, or even less of a player and I’m certainly not saying that any of these seasons could be called bad, because they weren’t. Hell, the guy won a Stanley Cup. I’m just saying that he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Or perhaps it was just a case of misplaced expectations, but after two years of what I would call slightly above-average hockey (others may disagree); all of a sudden, had a great year akin to his 53-point season (seriously akin, he had 54 points last year. Just one more goal). Does this sound familiar? Struggling-ish player, not living up to what people expect who all of a sudden exceeds expectations and turns in a great performance? Yup, sounds like your 2011-2012 Florida Panthers to me.
This probably wasn’t really on Dale Tallon’s mind when making this signing (at least, I hope not. The notion of an NHL GM’s brain working the same as mine is horrifying) but it’s something of a parallel that can be drawn. I don’t know about you guys but I’m really looking forward to tracking Versteeg’s success going forward and seeing how that lines up with the Panthers’. Yes, these are the kinds of things I like to keep track of. Cause I’m that guy, apparently. But, hey, could be worse, I could be making pre-season predictions.
Yeah, I’ll probably make those too.
I hate myself.