Blackhawks sign Marcus Kruger to three-year extension

SHARE Blackhawks sign Marcus Kruger to three-year extension
474031924_53848559.jpg

Marcus Kruger is now signed through the 2018-19 season. (Getty Images)

Marcus Kruger did the Blackhawks a big favor last summer by taking a lowballed, one-year contract extension on the eve of training camp in September. On Tuesday, the Hawks rewarded him for his loyalty — as well as his stellar defensive play — with a three-year contract extension worth a total of $9.25 million.

Kruger’s contribution has never been as high-profile as those of his fellow multi-time champion teammates. But the Hawks have never taken the defensive center and penalty-killing specialist for granted. The fact that the Hawks’ penalty-kill — a strength for years — has fallen to the 22nd-ranked unit in the league with Kruger having missed nearly three months with a wrist injury goes to show how valuable the two-time Stanley Cup champion is.

The Hawks’ difficult salary-cap situation forced the one-year extension last summer. Kruger essentially took one for the team by taking a short-term deal worth less than he could have earned on the open market.

“I knew the deal from the beginning,” Kruger said earlier in the season. “I’ve got a one-year deal and I’ll try to do my best in the future to get another deal.”

Kruger’s contract means the Hawks have 16 forwards under contract for next season, carrying a cap hit of more than $65 million. This year’s salary cap is $71.4 million, and the struggling Canadian dollar could leave the cap relatively flat. With Artemi Panarin on the verge of hitting up to $2.5 million in bonuses that would count against next year’s cap, the Hawks will have to fill out their roster with cheap, mostly entry-level contracts.

Andrew Shaw is now the most significant pending restricted free agent on the roster, and his fate likely will be tied to how much the cap goes up — or doesn’t.

Kruger had just one assist in 33 games before undergoing wrist surgery in December.

The Latest
The researchers say their findings point to a need for more trauma-related health care in those places, especially in the West Side ZIP code 60624.
Coach Billy Donovan all but ruled out any chance that point guard Lonzo Ball plays this season, so what does that mean for the look of the current lineup? A lot, as executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas will show his hand with the Feb. 9 trade deadline approaching - not only at point guard, but the entire roster.
NFL
The lifesaving medical attention Damar Hamlin received on the field during a game last month inspired the league to offer CPR classes.
“Whenever I walked in to a barber shop, there was an immediate sense of respect and positivity,” says the artist, who did the mural to promote a Lyric Opera production with a barber shop theme.
Lifetime movie neatly summarizes the bizarre life of the late weight-loss evangelist, who built a church around her faith-based nutrition philosophy.