Marcus Kruger was patient with the process last summer.
He knew the Blackhawks had little cash over the summer, despite all the moves they made and the personnel they lost. So he agreed a shorter deal with a smaller raise in the good faith that he would be signed to a more long-term deal during this season or over the summer.
That deal came this afternoon.
Kruger agreed to a three-year deal worth $9.25 million on Tuesday. The deal gives the center the security he really hasn’t had these past few seasons. It also gives him a very nice raise. Kruger’s current deal, which didn’t get done until September of last year, was for one year, $1.5 million. General manager Stan Bowman talked earlier this season of Kruger doing what worked for him and the team this offseason.
“I think we both wanted to do a longer-term deal, just weren’t able to fit it in. Luckily he understood that and he wanted to be here. That says a lot for what Marcus is like as a person,” said Bowman, who added at that time that he hoped to sign Kruger at some point this season. “Our goal is to keep him here. We were hoping to make it a longer deal.”
Kruger, who has now won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, said he was willing to be patient.
“I know the deal from the beginning. I know the situation here and everything, it might be hard,” he said after signing that one-year deal. “I’m happy to sign here again and be a part of this team and this organization again.”
Kruger, who has been sidelined since December with a fractured wrist, has been skating for a few weeks now. Once thought out until the postseason began, Kruger could now come back for a few late regular-season games.
The Blackhawks will see two raises kick in next season: Kruger’s and Brent Seabrook’s. Andrew Shaw becomes a restricted free agent this summer — he’s in the final season of his current deal, which carries a $2 million cap hit. It’s probably going to be another offseason salary-cap juggling act for the Blackhawks, but they’ve done that for several years now.
Kruger was due a raise and more term. He got them both on Tuesday.