Versteeg, 24, posted 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points over 53 games with Toronto this season. Most will remember him for hurting the Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals last June while a member of the Blackhawks, picking up two goals and three assists as a plus-3 in Chicago's final series against the Flyers.
"Kris is an exciting young forward," Holmgren said in a statement. "He's 24 years old and he'll fit in with our group of players here. He's a quality forward that can play in a lot of different roles for our hockey team. He can move up and down our lineup. He can kill penalties. He can play on the power play.
"We think he's a guy that over the last few years, particularly in Chicago, has really blossomed into a good forward and we think he's going to be a really good addition to our team."
Versteeg, who will wear No. 32 and is expected to be available to play in tonight's game at Tampa Bay, said he was excited to join the Flyers.
In Chicago, Versteeg blossomed as a dangerous depth scorer. In Toronto, where he was expected to skate on a top line with Phil Kessel, Versteeg ultimately settled into a third-line role. Toronto was 11-0-2 this season when Versteeg scored a goal.
In only a few hours yesterday, Versteeg went from a team with little to no chance of playing in late April to a team with a solid possibility of skating in June.
"Right away, I was extremely excited to join this team," Versteeg said. "They've had a lot of success this season. They had a great playoff push last year, and I'm excited to try and have a good one this year."
Versteeg, unlike most players acquired at the deadline, is not a rental player. He is not set to become a restricted free agent until July 2012. He is owed a prorated $3.083 million for the remainder of this season ($928,315) and another $3.083 million next season.
The move puts the Flyers slightly over the NHL's $59.4 million salary cap, which is allowed because of the long term injured reserve exception of forward Ian Laperriere.
For some, the price might seem steep - to acquire a forward with one fewer goal (14) than healthy scratch Nik Zherdev (15) - but the Flyers have always traded draft picks like candy. This franchise once sent a former first-round pick, Maxime Ouellet, to Washington with a first-, second- and third-round pick for Adam Oates - who played only 14 games in a Flyers uniform.
But with another deep run, the Flyers' first-round pick would likely be a low-second-round selection in an already shallow draft class. The Flyers haven't had a first-round pick since 2008 (Luca Sbisa), and that fact hasn't exactly hurt them.
In the long term, depending on how much the NHL's hard salary cap increases in the offseason, acquiring Versteeg could limit how much the Flyers can spend when trying to re-sign valuable assets such as Ville Leino.
But that's a discussion for another day.
Incidentally, yesterday's trade flashes back to a deal Holmgren made for Leino Feb. 6, 2010, when he acquired the Finnish forward from Detroit in exchange for Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.
That move taught us not to pass judgment on a player's stats with a previous team, and that some players need to skate with talent to show their talent.
In the short term, Versteeg undoubtedly makes the Flyers the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. He is the scoring winger Peter Laviolette desperately wanted to plug in on a line with Mike Richards - which is evident, based on the way he has tinkered with the lines the last few games.
Unlike Zherdev, Versteeg is not afraid to get dirty and play defense. His speed and deft hands make him one of the Flyers' top dual threats.
"He's a tenacious guy that does a lot of things well," Laviolette said. "I think he's done a little bit of everything. If you look at our lineup and the way it runs, we're not really comprised of a first line. It's more we're built by numbers."
Laviolette said he could stick Versteeg with Richards and James van Riemsdyk, but he praised Holmgren for not "taking something from a group that's already established."
Over the final 27 games, Versteeg will make Laviolette's lineup decisions interesting on a nightly basis - now that two forwards will have to sit as healthy scratches, whether it's Zherdev, Dan Carcillo or even Jody Shelley.
If the message from Holmgren was not clear enough already, the Flyers' wheeling-and-dealing GM is banking on a parade down Broad Street in June - or bust. And that's a message we can all appreciate.
Brian Boucher is expected to start tonight's game, as Sergei Bobrovsky has been pulled in two starts against the Lightning this season . . . Former Flyer Peter Forsberg did his best Brett Favre impression by retiring yesterday, only two games after signing a contract with Colorado.
KRIS VERSTEEG FILE
Born: May 13, 1986
Birthplace: Lethbridge, Alberta
Height: 5-10 Weight: 182 pounds
Position: Left wing
Draft: 134th overall, 2004 by Boston
NHL experience: This is his fourth season
Honors: 2009 NHL All-Rookie first team
Career stats: 223 games, 58 goals, 78 assists, 136 points, plus-9.
Hidden talent: Singing in public, as he did on TV last year and at the Blackhawks' Cup parade last June.
THE WEEK AHEAD
At Tampa Bay, tonight, 7:30
After falling, 4-0, at the St. Pete Times Forum 2 weeks ago, the Flyers look for their first win of the season (0-3) against Tampa Bay tonight in their final matchup of the season. Former Flyer Simon Gagne's wife, Karine, was scheduled to give birth to the couple's second child yesterday. No word on whether he will play. Matt Carle said the Flyers' key tonight is to get an early lead, as it "forces the Lightning out of their game" with their unconventional, laid-back trapping style. Tampa Bay is 5-2-0 on this 12-game homestand, the longest homestand in NHL history.
At Florida, tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
The Flyers, who are 7-2-2 in back-to-back games this season, will travel across the Sunshine State for a matchup with the Panthers. Florida gracefully bowed out of the playoff race - if not officially - by trading forward Michael Frolik last week.
At Carolina, Friday, 8 o'clock
This will be a special night for former Flyer Rod Brind'Amour, whose No. 17 will be retired. The Flyers will wear No. 17 jerseys in warmups to honor Brind'Amour, who spent parts of nine seasons in Philadelphia. The Flyers are 3-0-0 against the Hurricanes this season.
At New York Rangers, Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
The game was moved up to 12:30 p.m. to accommodate NBC's regional coverage as part of "Hockey Week Across America." The Flyers topped New York, 3-2, on Jan. 16 when Sean Avery dropped the gloves with Matt Carle.
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