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.”