Kris Versteeg Signs 4-Year Contract With Florida Panthers

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 24: Kris Versteeg #32 of the Florida Panthers reacts against the New Jersey Devils in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 24, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 4-year deal with Kris Versteeg just before his hearing on Monday.

Kris Versteeg was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on Monday afternoon, but he avoided arbitration by agreeing to a new four-year contract with the Florida Panthers before that hearing. Terms of the deal were not immediately available, but Versteeg made about $3 million last season and had arguably the best year of his career in 2011-12.

Here's what Florida Panthers blog Litter Box Cats had to say about Versteeg's performance last season.

He was a large part of the Panthers success early on last season and he and his linemates Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss were the only Panthers players to score 20 or more goals last season. He struggled later in season, partially due to injuries and partially due to other teams keying in defensively on what was clearly the best line on the team.

Even though Versteeg's performances dropped off late in the season, his 54-point year was a big part of the reason why the Panthers broke their long playoff drought, and the team will be happy to have another one of their key forwards locked up long-term.

For more on the Panthers, head over to Litter Box Cats and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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