Blackhawks, Marcus Kruger Still Working

Sunday brought an important deadline for restricted free agents across the NHL, and 23 players elected Salary Arbitration.

None of those 23 was a member of the Blackhawks.

The next deadline of note for restricted free agents comes at 5:00 PM ET on Monday, the cutoff for club-elected arbitration. Arbitration hearings take place between July 20 and August 4 in Toronto.

On Saturday, a number of media outlets (including ESPN’s Scott Powers) reported that things were progressing between the Hawks and Kruger, whose role on penalty killing for Chicago would figure to be increasingly important as the Hawks head into a season without Ben Smith and Brandon Saad, both of whom were traded out of town.

Kruger, 25, has improved at the dot each year and has become one of the elite penalty killing specialists in the league.

The problem for Chicago continues to be finding room under the cap to afford Kruger – and Johnny Oduya. Hawks GM Stan Bowman hasn’t been able to unload Patrick Sharp or Bryan Bickell yet, but has done an effective job of loading up the roster with intriguing imports and signed an affordable deal to bring back Andrew Desjardins. But there is still work to be done, and the clock doesn’t stop on important deadlines with the league.

42 thoughts on “Blackhawks, Marcus Kruger Still Working

  1. Kruger wants to be compensated in a fair (and just) fashion. Its not his or his agent’s problem that Bowman has to unload salary, or that Kruger arguably deserves more $ (than he did before the rush rush new center’s deal) since Asimisov is the second coming of Peter Forsberg (thats Bowman’s logic if Toews is akin to Joe Sakic). If I’m Kruger’s agent, when I saw what Bowman did w the new center on a dime basically, “really? Hmmm, interesting. Ok Stan, that’s cool. We’ll patiently wait until you are able to clear salary to slot Marcus since you helped our negotiating position. ” Anyone that negotiates professional matters (like this) for a living uses comparisons and ever changing circumstances (facts) ALL the time. Let’s see how much Kruger’s cap hit will eventually be and we can criticize the undersigned some more without any factual basis. Who is Kruger’s agent? Some of you are in the know; ask him one question when this is all done: How much did Asimisov’s long term “wham bam thank you Stan signing” help Marcus’ cause financially? He won’t throw Bowman under the bus publically, but behind closed doors he would say, in pertinent portion, “a hell of a lot”. God bless.

  2. Speculation is that the Hawks have agreements in principle with both Oduya and Kruger, but the Hawks want to trade Sharp and others before re-signing them. This makes sense in so far as it gives Stan a little more wiggle room with which to negotiate trades for Sharp/Bickell/Versteeg/Crawford(?). However, Oduya probably can’t stay in a holding pattern for too long while waiting for Stan or he could limit his other opportunities. Kruger is an RFA but there is an offer sheet gotcha that could jump up and bite Stan if he doesn’t get things settled sooner rather than later.

    If Stan can get Oduya and Kruger re-signed and still hold on to Crawford, I think the Hawks will be right in the mix to win the Cup again next season, even with the expected hangover effect.

    Git-R-Done Stan.

  3. The Blackhawks Convention starts on July 17. It could be a weird mix of celebration and uncertainty, if the moves are not completed by then. I believe Leddy wasn’t dealt until right before the 14-15 season.
    Oh well, Stan has gotta do what he’s gotta do, and the reporters will ask the questions they’re going to ask.
    Still wondering if there is a way to sign both Kruger and Oduya. Somehow the math just doesn’t seem to work out, unless there’s some crazy trade like peddling Crawford, which won’t happen.
    Intriguing as to how Stan et al end up making these Sharp, Bickell situations getting resolved.
    I think Stan is way more patient than me, and a lot of the rest of us.

  4. Kruger is an overachieving bottom 6 role player that shouldn’t see an impressive offer sheet. If he stays, great, if he goes, onward and upward. He’s undersized and subject to injury, and isn’t a top tier leader.

    (Please circulate the above to the other 29 GM’s in the league and destroy all tape of Kruger)

  5. Kruger played in 47 of 48 games in 2012/13, 81 of 82 games in 2013/14, and again 81 of 82 games in 2014/15 … I’m not seeing how his being subject to injury is a reality. Is he a core player? No. But he is a big part of making the team successful with his defensive shutdown and PK roles, plus he has worked hard at improving his faceoff percentage and has it up to 55%. This is not insignificant and not easily replaced. There is a point where his salary would make him expendable but I’m not sure where that is – hopefully Stan and Marcus agree on it.

  6. I don´t know, bud if there is core player in bottom six it´s Krueger. Anybody who plays with him PK look better than usuallly. Q send him againts best oponent lines and he was able to wipe them out. Hawks need him.

  7. I was being completely sarcastic, hence the plea to circulate that to the other GM’s, I am a big fan of 16. To me he is a core player, and the 4th line being so far beyond that of any opponent is a huge reason they won the cup this year. Stan’s 2/3 of the way to keeping that line together (although some might think I’m crazy for suggesting its Shaw’s turn to step up to the 1st or second line after Saad’s departure, he was playing some impressive neutral and offensive zone hockey in crunch time. And he had only one insane penalty in the final). Maintaining a decisive competitive edge on the 4th line would be key to another run, just don’t want to get my hopes up.

  8. Excellent point Ebony; speaking of, post of last night still in moderation? Hmmmm. I don’t believe I used foul language. Whatever….

  9. I don’t think the sarcasm alarm went off loud enough in Nick In San Diego’s post. At least not loud enough for some subsequent posters to hear it.

  10. The “circulate this to 29 other GMs” should have indicated the level of sincerity re: Kruger being overrated… that being said, to refer to him as a “core” guy is overstating his position w/ the team imo. If he wants a ridiculous amount of money, he can go… but, if he and his agent felt he was worth a significant amount more than the Hawks are offering, he/they could have filed for arbitration and had the opportunity to prove it.

  11. 16 might be the “cheapest” non-core asset in recent NHL history!!!

    and he is still not in his prime!!!

    Durable as rubber… but – yes, Rubber eventually wears

    16 improves something every year,,, faceoffs, shot, ???– luv the guy
    81,16- just don’t take too many plays/days off

  12. If I can go off topic but relevant to fans, NHL Network is showing a couple of games of the junior team Niagra, that the Hawks 2nd rd. pick Knott played on. Wish I would have gotten this out earlier but at 8:31 a.m. ct Monday they are showing the game against Conner McDavids team, Erie, however McDavid is not playing but Dylon Strome is and has 5 pts. I just got home and it is close to being over but Knott’s team Niagra is leading 7-6. I recorded it and will check him out later. And they are showing another Niagra game on Tuesday at 3 c.t. p.m.

  13. Marcus Kruger amazes me : he (and Shaw) take more punishing hits than anyone. One of these games, 16 is not going to be able to scrape himself off the ice, struggle back to the bench, and take his next shift.

    Thus, though I wish he’d keep wearing the Indian Head, I don’t blame Marcus for tsking the biggest offer he can get. The next Stoner-like hit may be his last.

  14. OOPS – sorry Nick. I was in complete dense mode and missed the obvious sarcasm.

  15. Any GM that watched the playoffs know the value that Kruger has provided these Hawks. He is an excellent role player, but clearly SB knows the value of role players.

    At this stage most of the big NHL domino’s have fallen. There aren’t lot of impact players left on the board. Let’s step back and look at whats at play here a 4th line center and a 4th defenseman. I know everyone here values these players but is Oduya a top pair defenseman? No. Is Kruger a 2nd line center? absolutely not!

    These are added bonus for contenders. I would assume at this stage both Kruger and Oduya have received offers from interested contenders and Stan knows the numbers he must work with. The nice thing about contenders is they are already paying their top impact players. Now Stan’s work should be on getting the best value for his assets(Bickell, Sharp & Steeger). Personally I don’t think SB is going to end up getting a lot for any of the above but at least he has filled in the roster with inexpensive pieces. IMO Bickell, Sharp & Steeger are all going to be salary dumps with either picks or middle of the road prospects coming back. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes time or all three to be moved either.

    I would assume that either Panarin or Dano will get 1st crack at 1st line winger opposite Hoss and Toews and the loser getting 2nd line duties.

  16. “Stan’s work should be on getting the best value for Bickell, Sharp & Steeger…SB is not going to end up getting a lot…IMO Bickell, Sharp & Steeger are all going to be salary dumps with either picks or middle of the road prospects coming back.” – I believe that Sharp (still a valuable asset despite a down year) will bring something in return – there’s a deal spmewhere…AZ traded for Pronger’s Cap hit to get a d-man who would be #4 on the Hawks (possibly #5 if Oduya stays) and LA overpaid for Lucic. Moving Bickell and Versteeg will likely be difficult, but I’ll give SB the benefit of the doubt.

  17. I would assume if a move is made it will be this week otherwise as someone else pointed out things will hit a crawl for the next month after rookie camp. The bigger issue is IF Oduya leaves then what? There aren’t alot of “quality” 4th defenseman available on the FA agent market at this stage; Andrej Meszaros, Christian Ehrhoff, Cody Franson those are a few names out there, but SB can’t even entertain those guys without having a solid number to present to them.

  18. I have a simple mind and thus it’s nearly impossible for me to focus on anything except the primary objective. To me, the primary objective here is cap relief through trading Sharp and one of, if not both, Bickell and Versteeg. The objective is not to get equal value back in a trade at the cost of not meeting the primary objective. I’m a Stan man, I think he’s done a good job, but one thing I fault him for is taking his eyes off the primary objective by trying to get a good return for Sharp. I may be in the minority and maybe it’s not too bright of me, but I’m willing to overpay for what I want and in this case – freaking give Sharp away for free to meet the primary objective before it costs more than what you might get back – such as losing Kruger and Oduya because you’re holding out for a better deal for Sharp. AGAIN – “primary objective”. Don’t take your eyes off of the primary objective.

    So too with Bickell and Versteeg – get them traded for whatever it costs to get them traded. Package prospects with them and/or draft picks – just get it done.

  19. ER- if you really over-think (like I tend to)… the order in which SB dumps/ leaks/trades- is really important too!!!

    In my eyes- it would be “BEST” if he could dump the “hardest/bad assets” 1st…
    29/23…. because- he is still going to HAVE to dump 10… dumping 29 for no- to low cap take back- loosens the noose around SB’s neck,,, and the rest of the NHL- will be more likely to pay for Sharp…. imo- cuz it is no longer an act of Desperation- from SB

    same reason- they aren’t signing 16/27 1st… cuz if they did- the NEED/Noose around neck- would only get tighter…

  20. This is kind of a joke, but take a players points and divide by games played, Multiply by ten and your close their salary.

    Saad 126points/208 games=.6057 x 10=6.057 Actual salary 6 million
    Kane 557points/576 games =.967 x 10 =9.67 Actual salary 10.5

    Kruger 84 points/284 games=.292 x 10 =2.92 So something around 3 million?

  21. Why does it matter to any fan what the actual “take home” pay is? The only thing that matters is the AAV “cap hit” – which is the average of take home pay across the term of the contract. Commenting on Kane’s take home pay of $13.5M in 2015/16 is as meaningless as commenting on his take home of $7.5M in 2022/23 (or whatever it is in the last year of his contract).

  22. Speaking of AAV Panarin’s AAV is over 3 million w bonus so that is his cap number not the 900K being reported. So despite his low salary the Hawks will need to clear 3.5 million for him on the roster.

  23. I think Bonuses can go against the following year’s cap. I could be wrong, but that’s my understanding and if correct, then only the $900K works against the 2015/16 cap.

  24. Jeez – I wish we had edit function here.

    In my previous post I should have said “can” go against next years cap. In other words, if a player earns bonus money, that bonus money would go against the current year – but – any overage would be charged against the following year cap. Similar to the Toews and Kane bonuses from 2009/10 being charged against 2010/11.

  25. I’m glad Stan is not paying any attention to message boards. Otherwise he may panic and give Sharp away for nothing.

    Stan can always dump Sharp for nothing! It doesn’t take a genius to do that!

    Why not try to get something first instead of just giving up and panicking and giving a valuable asset away for free. Hopefully none of you guys are managing your own money and have hired professionals to do that task for you. In sports as in stocks the objective is to buy low and sell high. Any second rate GM can sell low.

    P.S. Asimisov at 4.5M is a steal. He’ll help Kane achieve his highest career point totals.

  26. Patrick – timing is everything. I don’t think anyone is suggesting a business model of sell low. However, circumstances matter and the current situation is that unless Stan can clear cap space soon, Oduya will be forced to sign somewhere else before other opportunities he may have dry up. Likewise, Kruger could get an offer sheet once other GMs realize Stan’s is stuck with Bickell and Versteeg and had to take back a couple million in the Sharp trade.

    In other words – which is the better situation – to give away Sharp but re-sign Oduya and Kruger and not have to trade Crawford, or wait until you can get a better deal for Sharp and have it be too late to re-sign Oduya and Kruger?

  27. SSHM- Any overage on a contract will be paid during the contract year. However, since bonuses are not guaranteed, they are not factored into a players cap hit. Any overage that occurs and if a team is already at the ceiling falls into the bonus cushion. Different sources calculate salary figures in different ways. If the team goes over because of bonuses, the team will be penalized by loss of cap dollars in the next season.

    per a article that used capgeek as its source

    “When the bonus cushion is in affect, teams can exceed the salary cap in performance bonuses by up to 7.5 percent of the salary cap’s upper limit. Should performance bonuses actually earned at season’s end push them past the salary cap’s upper limit, the excess bonuses earned will be carried over as a penalty to the team’s cap payroll the following season.”

  28. Raptor. I agree with you. But isn’t it obvious that Stan has some kind of agreement with both Kruger (who didn’t file for arbitration) and Oduya (who has multiple teams after him) to be patient. He’s trying to swing some deals to get the maximum return.

    Obviously if he has to sell low then he will but now is not the time to panic. He usually gets a good return by being patient. Let’s see how it all plays out. I think we’ll retain Kruger, Oduya and Steeger while trading Sharp and Bickell.

  29. Patrick, I think it’s very likely that Stan has an agreement with Oduya and Kruger but there will come a time when Oduya can’t wait any longer or his other options will not be there. When is that time? I don’t know, but I doubt it’s longer than a week or two. Whatever other team wants to sign Oduya will need to sign their second choice rather than wait for Oduya and it’s a game of musical chairs where you don’t want to be left standing when the music stops. If Stan overplays his hand and blows this – it could severely impact not only the Hawks chances in 2015/16, but potentially the ability to re-sign Seabrook and others next year and I just don’t think that whatever Stan is holding out for in the Sharp trade is worth that.

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