In this past offseason, Marcus Kruger was the last Chicago Blackhawks forward to sign a contract. Due to the salary cap crunch, the Blackhawks had to trade Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom to free up enough money to re-sign Kruger.
The rumor was the Blackhawks and Kruger had a “handshake” agreement that he would get paid more in the next offseason. Today, the Blackhawks made good on their apparent agreement with Kruger as he signed a three-year contract extension worth $9.25 million. His annual value will be $3.083 million per season, and the deal runs through the 2018-19 season.
Next season, the Blackhawks now have 18!players signed for a combined cap hit of $64,158,460. Kruger is now the eighth NHL forward under contract for next season. Kruger was set to a restricted free free agent at the end of this season.
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He did get fair market value for his talent. His deal is comparable to those of Cam Atkinson (three years at $3.5 million per year), Blackhawks teammate Artem Anisimov (three years at $3.283 million per year), Mathieu Perreault (three years at $3 million per year) and Tomas Tatar (three years at $2.75 million per year).
Kruger recorded one assist in 33 games before being placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury earlier this season. Last season, the Swede recorded 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 81 games during the regular season. He would add 2 goals and 2 assists in the playoffs, including the game winner against Anaheim in the Western Conference Finals’ second game. He also led Blackhawks forwards with 180:01 of shorthanded time on the ice during the regular season and ranked second on the team with a 53.3 faceoff win percentage.
Kruger for his career has 85 points (28 goals and 57 assists) in over 320 NHL games. Kruger has only ever been a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL. He was also a crucial member of the 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup championship teams.
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Reports have stated that Kruger could return to the Blackhawks with several regular season games remaining this season. Kruger was the second signing as of late, as General Manager Stan Bowman continues to play the long-term game with the Blackhawks roster. Late last week, Bowman inked Kyle Baun to a one-way contract worth $625,000 annually for the next two seasons.