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.