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Toronto Maple Leafs Kris Versteeg has been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for first and third round draft picks. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (MARK BLINCH)
Toronto Maple Leafs Kris Versteeg has been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for first and third round draft picks. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (MARK BLINCH)

Leafs Beat

Leafs trade Kris Versteeg to Flyers Add to ...

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke's sell off continues.

In another sign Toronto is beginning a longer rebuild than the Leafs GM first envisioned, the Leafs traded winger Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night in exchange for first- and third-round draft picks in 2011.

Versteeg was originally acquired by Burke from the Chicago Blackhawks on June 30 for prospects Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.

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Versteeg had 14 goals and 35 points in 56 games in Toronto this season. He has one year remaining on his contract that will pay him $3.083-million next season.

"Right away I was extremely excited to join this team," Versteeg said in a statement. "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. I like to make plays and score goals at the same time, maybe go out there and be an agitator at times too. I'm going to try and do it all and have fun doing it."

"Kris is an exciting young forward," Flyers GM Paul 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."

The trade comes less than a week after Burke dealt defenceman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks for winger Joffrey Lupul, prospect defenceman Jake Gardiner and a conditional fourth- or sixth-round pick.

There had been trade rumours surrounding Versteeg for weeks, and the Flyers were considered one of the more likely destinations for the small but skilled winger. He began the season in Toronto on a line with Phil Kessel, but the two never clicked.

While Versteeg played well in a complementary role on the third line, he didn't exactly fit in with Burke's skilled top six, gritty bottom six philosophy.

The Leafs have recalled centre Christian Hanson from the Marlies for Tuesday's game against the Boston Bruins. Versteeg is en route to Tampa for the Flyers game against the Lightning on Tuesday.

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