Marcus Kruger

Days after trade with Blackhawks, Vegas Golden Knights flip Marcus Kruger to Carolina

Days after trade with Blackhawks, Vegas Golden Knights flip Marcus Kruger to Carolina

Las Vegas is quite the destination, but apparently not for former Blackhawks.

Marcus Kruger, who the Vegas Golden Knights acquired on Sunday, was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday morning. The expansion team got the Hurricanes’ fifth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft for the former Blackhawks center.

A few hours after Kruger was traded to Vegas, SportsNet’s John Shannon tweeted, “On Kruger trade, someone should tell Marcus not to unpack. Team has yet to decide if he stays or gets dealt.” And here we are.

Kruger’s the second Blackhawks player the Knights have immediately flipped to the Hurricanes. After selecting Trevor van Riemsdyk in the NHL expansion draft on June 21, Vegas traded the defenseman and its 2018 seventh-round pick to Carolina for the Hurricanes’ No. 62 overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Hurricanes continue to be the latest destination for former Blackhawks. Currently, Kruger, van Riemsdyk, Scott Darling, Joakim Nordstrom and Teuvo Teravainen are part of the main roster. Bryan Bickell was with the team last season.

Blackhawks trade Marcus Kruger to Vegas Golden Knights

Blackhawks trade Marcus Kruger to Vegas Golden Knights

Marcus Kruger’s name has been tied to trade possibilities for several weeks now. While he wasn’t sent to the Vegas Golden Knights at the expansion draft, it was expected he would be dealt to the NHL’s newest team eventually to help alleviate the Blackhawks’ cap issues.

On Sunday, he was.

The Blackhawks sent Kruger to Vegas for future considerations. It was another cap move for a team that signed several players, including Patrick Sharp, on Saturday. A team can spend 10 percent over the cap from now until the day the regular season begins. It’s expected the Blackhawks will put Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve once the season begins, which would also give them more wiggle room at that time.

As for now, the Blackhawks had to make more tough moves. Cash-wise, they rid themselves of Kruger’s $3.08 million cap hit for this and next season. Personnel-wise they lose another center center – Dennis Rasmussen, who was not given a qualifying offer last week, is gone, too. Kruger was also a reliable penalty killer. He had been steadily improving in faceoffs, peaking in the 2013-14 season when he won 56.7 percent of his draws. But after missing the second half of the 2015-16 season with a broken wrist, his faceoff numbers fell below 50 percent.

“We thank Marcus for his many contributions to our team—most notably, two Stanley Cup Championships,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “His work ethic, reliability and strength as a two-way player made him a valuable member of the organization. We wish him the best with Vegas.”

Blackhawks Notes: Coaching changes and Marcus Kruger’s status

Blackhawks Notes: Coaching changes and Marcus Kruger’s status

Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t mince words. Finding out his good friend, former assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired not long after the Blackhawks’ postseason ended, frustrated him.

“That day, I was not happy. I was a little disappointed,” Quenneville said on Thursday. “We lost a great coach and somebody I had been working with for a long time. It was tough and we’ve moved on now, but I wasn’t excited at the moment.”

In moving on the Blackhawks have revamped their coaching staff, adding another old friend and teammate of Quenneville’s in Ulf Samuelsson and a former member of his St. Louis staff in Don Granato. Quenneville said Samuelsson will take over Kitchen’s responsibilities while Granato will handle a number of tasks.

“Whether he’s pre-scout, helping Kevin [Dineen], helping Ulfie, helping me. He’s helping the young guys like Stan [Bowman] said,” Quenneville said. “We have input with all areas and all coaches and it’s a fun thing, drawing up practices or talking to guys, preparing meetings and evaluating performances. But I think he’s excited to be a part of that as well and Ulfie, he’ll be doing something he’s been doing and he’s excited to work with some of our defense as well.”

As far as the Blackhawks’ defensive style, Quenneville doesn’t foresee it changing.

“I think there are some areas how it ended or after a playoff series, there’s always some tweaks we like to do in games, in playoffs or in series," Quenneville said. "It’s obviously disappointing. But I think there’s a lot of positive things we accomplished last year and how we played without the puck, I don’t think that was too much of an issue.

"But we have a defense that can play both ways and we still want offense from our defensive part of our game. That’d be one of our strengths. But when it’s time to defend, how we want to play in our own end without the puck is something that’ll be very close to how we play.”

Kruger’s situation

There’s been plenty of talk regarding Marcus Kruger, and whether or not he’ll remain with the Blackhawks. Whatever the future holds for the center, general manager Stan Bowman wouldn’t say on Thursday.

“Yeah, there have been a lot of these rumors around, but Marcus is no different than any other player. I’m not going to comment on rumors out there, but people are stating it as if it’s a fact,” Bowman said of Kruger being at the center of trade rumors. “There’s a lot of speculation, but it’s not fair to the players for me to be commenting on what’s been rumored out there. I don’t really have anything to add on that front.”

Trevor van Riemsdyk was Vegas’ selection in Wednesday night’s expansion draft. But a source said it’s still possible the Blackhawks trade Kruger to the Golden Knights.