Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Marcus Kruger Undergoes Wrist Surgery

By Sean Fitzgerald

Despite defeating the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, the Chicago Blackhawks suffered a huge loss. The Blackhawks have announced that Marcus Kruger had successful wrist surgery today. The announcement was eerily similar to Duncan Keith‘s knee injury announcement. Blakchawks fans found out about Kruger’s surgery after it happened, although we could have guessed it after Kruger left the game against the Oilers and didn’t return. Then, Phillip Danault was called up early Friday.

Kruger could miss up to four months this season. Before this injury, durability has never been an issue with Kruger.  He had appeared in 81 games the each of the last two seasons.

While Kruger has jumped from fourth-line center to second-line center and back year in years past, this year he has primary been on the fourth line. Kruger centered the line with a mix of Andrew Shaw, Andrew Desjardins, Brandon Mashinter and Ryan Garbutt on his wings. The Kruger line was usually responsible for checking the opposing team’s first line. Last night, the Kruger line helped stifle the red hot Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl.

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Despite recording only one assist and no goals this season, Kruger will be sorely missed. Kruger has 26 blocked shots and plays two-plus minutes a night on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill with Kruger on it has 82.42 percent success rate. That is higher than the league average of 81.14 percent. Kruger is currently on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million. For his career, Kruger has played in 32o regular season games, all with the Blackhawks.

To fill Kruger’s roster spot, the Blackhawks recalled Danault, who is a former first-round pick from 2011. He appeared in two games with the Blackhawks last season. Danault is also coming off a surgery. Danault had surgery on Aug. 17 to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Danault has appeared in six games for the Rockford IceHogs this season. He has one goal and one assist with Rockford this season.

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When Kruger is placed on long-term injured reserve, the Blackhawks will get Kruger’s pro-rated salary minus Danault’s salary added to their current cap space of $2,196,540. Could the Blackhawks use the additional cap space to add another player? People need to remember their is no salary cap in the playoffs, and Stan Bowman is fully aware of how to manipulate the salary cap. Remember last season, the Blackhawks acquired Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen for the stretch run with salary cap space afforded to them by Patrick Kane being placed on LTIR.

It will be interesting to see how the Blackhawks proceed after the Kruger surgery.