For the third time in his career, Kris Versteeg is back with the Blackhawks organization. But this time around, he's on an AHL contract after signing a one-year deal with the Rockford IceHogs in April.
Versteeg last played in the NHL during the 2017-18 campaign, but a hip injury forced him to miss more than half the season with the Calgary Flames. He spent the past season in the KHL and Swedish Hockey League, and proved to himself that he feels he can still play at a high level.
While Versteeg understands that nothing is guaranteed and he may have been brought in by the Blackhawks to be a veteran presence in Rockford, the 33-year-old winger believes his time in the NHL isn't over just yet.
"I mean, it would be nice," Versteeg said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "And I think for me, the best way I can describe it is, I don't play hockey because I need money anymore. Just to be brutally honest, I don't need that. What I need is, I need to play hockey and if I didn't feel that I needed to play hockey and I couldn't play at a high level, then I wouldn't need to play hockey anymore either. I would just retire and go do other things.
"But I feel I can play still at a high level, especially coming off my last hip surgery and feeling how good I felt in Sweden without really being in hockey shape. So I felt like there's something left in me to give and if I didn't feel I needed that then I wouldn't be here today in the situation going to Rockford and trying to play, so I'm going there with the intentions to play at a high level in Rockford and to contribute every night. That's what I plan to do."
Check out the interview in the video above.