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Golden Knights select Trevor van Riemsdyk in expansion draft

Trevor van Riemsdyk was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in Wednesday's expansion draft. (AP Photo)

Marcus Kruger is still with the Blackhawks. The question is, for how long?

One of the ripple effects of Marian Hossa’s stunning announcement that he would not play next season (and likely ever again) is that the Hawks suddenly were less desperate to unload Kruger and his $3.08 million cap hit on the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. So instead of working out a trade package, the Hawks simply allowed the Knights to take defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft Wednesday.

Van Riemsdyk was an easy choice for Vegas — he’s young (25), he’s cheap (signed for next season at $825,000), he’s a right-handed shot, and he’s a Stanley Cup champion. The Hawks will miss his versatility on the back end, but with Czech import Jan Rutta on board, Michal Kempny re-signed and Gustav Forsling expected to take the next step, van Riemsdyk was expendable.

Van Riemsdyk’s name has been linked to the expansion draft since Vegas was awarded a team last year, when it became clear the Hawks couldn’t protect him (the three defensemen they did protect were Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, all of whom have no-movement clauses). Van Riemsdyk said after the season that “it’s something I can’t control,” but made it clear he wanted to stay in Chicago.

“Chicago has been an awesome place for me, he said. I owe them a lot. They’ve helped me so much along the way from when I first got there to now, being able to learn from this coaching staff, all these guys in the locker room. I’ve been extremely, extremely fortunate to be in the situation I am.”

Kruger’s future, on the other hand, remains up in the air. A league source said Kruger still could be dealt away — perhaps even to the Golden Knights for one of the surplus of defensemen they just drafted — but that the Hossa development complicates things, with free agency looming on July 1.

Kruger is an intriguing player, in that he’s somehow both undervalued and overpaid.

He has just 33 goals in 398 career games, but he’s the Hawks’ top defensive forward and penalty killer, a reliable and versatile player who was on the ice during the final minute of Stanley Cup-clinching games in 2013 and 2015. He’s the kind of depth player that helps make a good team great, but at $3.08 million for the next two seasons, he’s paid more like a second-line center — a luxury the perennially cap-strapped Hawks simply no longer can afford.

Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus.

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

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Golden Knights’

EXPANSION PICKS

Avalanche Calvin Pickard G

Canucks Luca Sbisa D

Coyotes Teemu Pulkkinen F

Devils Jon Merrill D

Sabres William Carrier F

Red Wings Tomas Nosek F

Stars Cody Eakin F

Panthers J. Marchessault F

Kings Brayden McNabb D

Hurricanes Connor Brickley F

Jets Chris Thorburn F

Flyers P-E Bellemare F

Lightning Jason Garrison D

Islanders J-F Berube G

Predators James Neal F

Flames Deryk Engelland D

Maple Leafs Brendan Leipsic F

Bruins Colin Miller D

Senators Marc Methot D

Sharks David Schlemko D

Blues David Perron F

Rangers Oscar Lindberg F

Oilers Griffin Reinhart D

Canadiens Alexei Emelin D

Ducks Clayton Stoner D

Wild Erik Haula F

Blue Jackets William Karlsson F

Blackhawks Trevor van Riemsdyk D

Penguins Marc-Andre Fluery G

Capitals Nate Schmidt D

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