TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired right winger Kris Versteeg from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago in a five-player trade Wednesday, the Blackhawks' latest move in a series of salary-cap deals.
The deal follows Chicago moves that sent playoff star Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager to Atlanta and Colin Fraser to Edmonton.
The Maple Leafs gave up forwards Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis. Toronto also acquired the rights to 21-year-old left winger Bill Sweatt, a second-round pick in 2007 who played four seasons at Colorado College.
The 24-year-old Versteeg had 20 goals and 24 assists in 79 regular-season games last season and added six goals and eight assists in 22 playoff games. He signed a three-year, $9.25 million deal last summer.
"Obviously, like I said earlier this year, we're not looking to trade anybody but that's the game we're in today," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "You look at the trades that are made, most of them are related around the salary cap, but that's just a reality everybody is facing,"
"Kris is a young player who came into our lineup on a full-time basis a year ago and he kind of blossomed as a guy who a year ago was just trying to make the team. He's a versatile guy, he played some center for us this year when we had some injuries. He's able to play left wing or right wing, got a high skill level, can play across the board in terms of penalty killing and power play."
Next on Bowman's agenda is signing his own restricted free agents such as goalie Antti Niemi and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
The 24-year-old Stahlberg, from Sweden, had nine goals and five assists in 40 games for Toronto last season, his first in the NHL.
The 19-year-old Paradis was selected by Carolina in the first round of the 2009 draft, then traded to Toronto in December. He had 24 goals in 63 games last season for Shawinigan in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The 21-year-old DiDomenico had seven goals in 12 regular-season games for Drummondville in the QMJHL. He also had seven goals in 14 playoff games.