Chris VandeVelde was suspended for two games yesterday for elbowing Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. The Edmonton Oilers' fourth-round pick (97th overall) in 2005, he now suits up with the Philadelphia Flyers, who play a physical style closer to what his own skill set is.
An offensive center in the NCAA, his statistics didn't translate to the AHL, let alone the NHL, where he projects to be the kind of player Zenon Kenopka and Paul Gaustad are: physical centermen who don't make too many defensive mistakes, win a lot of faceoffs, but are mostly just huge, strong, relatively quick and can deliver punishing checks.
Not that I don't want one or two of those on my team, but they're likely not the difference between a Stanley Cup championship or a Conference Finals; heck, they're probably not the difference between a playoff and non-playoff team in these super-competitive times.
VandeVelde skated in 72 games with the Flyers last season and had appeared in 69 so far this year, registering 13 points on a playoff bubble team that got rid of Vincent Lecavalier around the Holidays.
He looks like a natural in orange, which was also a big part of the Oilers' uniform. Here he is seen wearing their current/retro blue-and-orange garbs, which checks off #54 from my Oilers Numbers Project at the same time: