Marcus Kruger is an unsung hero of the Chicago Blackhawks’ modern era
We’ve made it to December, and Christmas is 16 days away. What better way to count down to present opening and eggnog than looking at Chicago Blackhawks greats, and not so greats, who have worn sweater numbers 25-1. This isn’t a, ‘Best Blackhawk To Wear…’ list. This is just ‘A Blackhawk That Wore/Wears…’ So if your favorite isn’t on this list, don’t come crying to me. Or do. I don’t care. Anyway, here we go …
Since his arrival to the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Marcus Kruger has been one of the more overlooked core pieces to Chicago’s success.
More from All Time Blackhawks
- Blackhawks’ Legend Niklas Hjalmarsson Retires After 14 Seasons
- Blackhawks: The five longest tenured captains in team history
- Blackhawks News: Andrew Shaw Retires At Age 29
- Best Blackhawks Goalie of All-Time: Esposito, Hall, or Crawford?
- The Jersey Numbers Never Worn in Blackhawks History
A fifth-round draft pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kruger made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in the 2010-11 season. The following year, Kruger would have the second-best statistical year of his career.
His rookie season produced 26 points (9 goals, 17 assists) in 71 games and averaged his highest time ice time of his career at 15:24.
Kruger has been a consistent worker on the Blackhawks’ penalty-killing unit since his arrival in Chicago and has made that role his home. Looked at as a top defensive forward, Kruger’s career average for defensive-zone starts is 71-percent. Since 2013, Kruger has over a three-quarter percentage of defensive-zone starts every season.
In his carer to date, Kruger has skated in 357 games with the Blackhawks and has tallied 95 points (30 goals, 65 assists). Additionally, he has played in 83 Stanley Cup Playoffs game with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists), including the overtime winner against the Anaheim Ducks in the 2015 Western Conference finals, and Stanley Cup championships in 2013 and 2015.
On the international scale, Kruger has represented his home nation of Sweden at the IIHF World Championships twice, in the 2014 Olympic Games and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, also winning silver medals at the 2011 World Championships and 2014 Olympics.
While Kruger’s role with the Blackhawks was challenged last season by an injury and the emergence of Phillip Danault as a defensive, penalty-killing center, the organization chose Kruger and gave him a hefty contract extension while trading Danault.
The Blackhawks have invested in Kruger and while his offensive production this season is below his career average, his consistency on the defensive side of the game still holds strong.
With the extended absence of Jonathan Toews, Kruger will be one of the veteran players that will need to step up and pull the weight left by Toews.