It takes a total of eighteen days for a “close deal” to get done. Marcus Kruger is officially re-signed for the next two years. Last season, Kruger was best known for his penalty kill role with the now departed Frolik. Since coming to the Hawks full time, Kruger has 39 points. Only 13 of those points were goals, but we saw in the playoffs that he is getting more aggressive around the net. His faceoff percentage was 46.2%, only slightly better than Bolland. I don’t get why this deal took so long since Kruger isn’t exactly a hot commodity at this point in his career. Since Kruger is the topic of the day, might as well break him down as a player.
Weakness: Kruger was out muscled a lot last year. The fans noticed and dubbed him “Frogger” for his constant dodging of hits and his uncanny ability to get flattened at least once per game. He needs to build up some muscle if he is going to succeed at the shutdown role. His scoring production went down from 2012, and I’m hoping that he will be able to build off of his playoff performance. There is room to improve at the dot, and that could potentially get better as he builds up some strength. Another area that needs work is infraction control. He doesn’t take a lot of penalties, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that he takes a lot more penalties than he draws. With his size and speed, he should be able to get better body position on his opponents allowing him to draw more penalties.
Strength: We already know that he was a PK stud with Frolik. He won’t have Frolik next season, but he most likely will have Ben Smith to play with. Kruger has strong hockey instincts, and with the right line mates, he could be a solid distributing center. He plays with a quiet tenacity and is always willing to pick up a garbage goal- something that the Hawks could always use. One of his surprising stats was that he tied for fourth on the team for game winning goals. This isn’t as shocking when you start to think about the type of player Kruger is. He is a quick, smart, and versatile player.
The Hawks organization has been a supporter of Kruger from the day he was drafted. His ceiling is a bit of a question mark, but there is no denying that there is potential for him to become a second line center. For now, we have a very capable bottom six player that can be used anywhere on the ice as the situation dictates. It’s never a bad thing to have a player like Kruger on your team. Let us know how you feel about the Kruger re-signing, and vote for how he should be utilized.