Tracking Chicago Blackhawks Free Agents

By Colin Likas
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Jun 2, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) talks with media during media day the day before the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Kruger

Restricted; $1.4 million salary, $1.325 million cap hit in 2014-15

Regular season stats: 81 games, 7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points, -5, 13:05 ATOI

Playoff stats: 23 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -5, 15:06 ATOI

Analysis: Kruger is probably among the top three most underrated centers in the game, and he may be the most underappreciated ’Hawk outside Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford. While the offensive punch isn’t there (a point that will likely be argued during contract negotiations), the faceoff and defensive success Kruger provides has been paramount to this team’s success. Kruger is positionally sound and has no problem taking on a team’s top line, as he showed while laying claim to part of Ryan Getzlaf‘s soul in the Western Conference Finals. Also, he’s only 24-years-old. Kruger is probably due for a pay bump, which will sting. But it’s something the ’Hawks will bite the bullet on.

Will he be back: Definitely staying

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Joakim Nordstrom

Restricted; $600,000 salary, $750,000 cap hit

Regular season stats: 38 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, -5, 10:58 ATOI

Playoff stats: 3 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -3, 13:14 ATOI

Analysis: Nordstrom is one of Joel Quenneville‘s favorite toys, primarily used in a defensive role alongside Kruger and someone else when he does play. On the positive side for the ’Hawks, Nordstrom has limited stats to show cause for a pay increase. It seems likely the ’Hawks will try to resign Nordstrom, however, given multiple forwards that were on the ice for the season’s last game are likely gone. Plus, Nordstrom is just 22 and could develop into something greater.

Will he be back: Decent chance

Brad Richards

Unrestricted; $2.0 million salary, $2.0 cap hit in 2014-15

Regular season stats: 76 games, 12 goals, 25 assists, 37 points, +3, 14:53 ATOI

Playoff stats: 23 games, 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points, +4, 16:44 ATOI

Analysis: This is where things start to get sticky with the forwards. Richards pretty much stated his desire to return by murmuring it into the microphone at the Stanley Cup rally on Thursday. There are some issues, namely that he’s 35 and was largely ineffective during the regular season. What could be his saving grace, and what could give him another one-year deal in Chicago, is his playoff performance, which was pretty stellar and unexpected. Richards is not a bad player by any means, but he’s certainly shown signs of slowing down, something that doesn’t go hand in hand with this team. Richards is probably the biggest question mark among the RFA/UFA forwards, and the ’Hawks have other guys they need to lock in ahead of him. Richards’ return would depend heavily on what he wants out of a new deal.

Will he be back: Decent chance

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