June 30th, 2017 is an important day to all NHL teams. It is the day before before Free Agency begins. Teams are looking at their rosters and assessing their needs, and they are trying to figure out which players work into their salary cap.
June 30th, 2017 holds even more significance for the Blakchawks. The Blackhawks are currently sitting at $77,995,628 which is $2,995,628 over the current cap. The team still needs to shed some salary to get below the salary cap ceiling.
That is where Marcus Kruger comes into play. Kruger has been the name rumored to be traded since before the NHL expansion draft. Kruger has not been traded because of the following reasons.
It makes sense Vegas would be willing to wait for the bonus to be paid out. That is less money that Vegas has to spend this season.
Let’s Assume Kruger is Traded: What is the return?
Now what the Blackhawks get in return for Kruger is also a mystery. Kruger could be traded for future draft picks that do not cost against the current salary cap. That seems to make the most sense to get under the cap.
He could also be traded for one of Vegas’s surplus defensemen. Vegas GM George McPhee took 15 defensemen during the expansion draft. He has moved three since the draft (Trevor van Riemsdyk, Marc Methot, and David Schlemko) and still need to move more.
So one can speculate that Kruger could be moved for a moderately priced defensemen like Jon Merrill or Colin Miller. I saw Merrill or Miller because their cap hits are in the million dollar range. We also know that Vegas will not trade Shea Theodore.
If or When Kruger is moved. We should reflect on some of his highlights as member of the Blackhawks. He is a shutdown forward who helped stymie Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Ryan Kesler. His line was always called upon to shut down the opposing teams being guns.
Despite not putting up many regular season goals during his tenure with the Blakchawks, He did have some huge playoff goals.
My personal favorite is when he ended one of the longest playoff games in Blackhawks history. It was a much needed victory a series that went 7 games with the Anahiem Ducks in the Western Conference.
Let’s not forget that Kruger also had a goal in the Pivotal Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013. The Hawks would tie the series up with a victory in Game 4. Kruger scored a much needed goal in this game.
It appears that the Kruger tenure with the Blackhawks is coming to an end.