Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Winger Kris Versteeg couldn't be more "excited" to return to the team with which he won the Stanley Cup after being traded from the Florida Panthers to the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday.
"I think I was shocked," Versteeg, 27, said of learning of the trade that sent prospects Dylan Olsen and Jimmy Hayes to Florida and Philippe Lefebvre to Chicago.
Versteeg was traded during the summer of 2010 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but said he always hoped to come back to Chicago.
"I’m really excited about it. I still think I’m pretty young. I hopefully have a lot of years ahead of me, and, hopefully, it’s as a Blackhawk because that’s where my heart is," he added.
Versteeg arrived in Chicago Friday and skated on the third line with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw during his first practice.
“I said, 'If there’s ever a chance, I would love to come back,' " he said he told Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman.
[ESPN] [Chicago Tribune]
“I try to fit into whatever lineup I'm in, with whatever role the coach tries to put me in,” he said. “But this is a strong lineup, and I’m going to have to compete hard every night for a roster spot and just try to help make this team better in whatever way I can.”