Blackhawks

Blackhawks re-sign Marcus Kruger to one-year deal

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Blackhawks re-sign Marcus Kruger to one-year deal

Marcus Kruger wanted to stay with the Blackhawks. He didn’t get the long-term deal he was originally looking for but he did get a deal done before training camp’s start.

TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that Kruger's deal is worth $1.5 million for one year.

[MORE HAWKS: Blackhawks trade Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom to Hurricanes]

General manager Stan Bowman said several times that the team was intent on re-signing Kruger. Salary-cap issues, however, were going to be an issue. Kruger’s agent JP Barry, via email earlier this summer, said that his client would be patient as the Blackhawks worked through their cap crunch. Some of that was resolved on Friday afternoon, when the Blackhawks traded Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom to the Carolina Hurricanes.

About an hour after that trade was complete, Kruger’s signing was announced.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]  

The 25-year-old Kruger won his second Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks this past season. He was once again a dependable penalty killer and fourth-line center, developing postseason chemistry with Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins. Kruger had 17 points during the regular season; he had four points, including the game-winning goal in the Blackhawks’ triple-overtime Game 3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.