On Sunday, the Blackhawks and Las Vegas Golden Knights finalized a deal that sent Kruger to the new expansion team. In return, the Blackhawks will receive future cash considerations.
This deal was not surprising. There have been rumors of something like this getting done for what seems like months now. Kruger was valuable but no longer affordable for the Blackhawks who are once again going to be pressed against the cap.
Kruger was one of the most underrated players during the Blackhawks cup runs in 2013 and 2015. He was trusted when it came to closing out championships, as he was on the ice for the last minute of both the clinching games in 2013 in Boston and 2015 in Chicago.
In six seasons, Kruger scored 33 goals, but that wasn’t why he was on the team. Kruger excelled at facets of the game that often get overlooked. He was the team’s best player on the penalty kill. He also did things like take face-offs in the defensive zone.
Again, he always seemed to play his best in the postseason. One of Kruger’s most memorable moments with the Blackhawks came in the 2015 Western Conference Finals when he scored the game-winning triple-overtime goal in game two that tied the series at one a piece.
The deal will allow the Blackhawks to get under the cap, which is set for $75 million for the 2017-18 season. The Blackhawks should have some wiggle room at the trade deadline to add a defenseman if they keep doing what they’re doing. This season should be an interesting one, to say the least.