Friday afternoon, the Blackhawks announced they’ve agreed to terms with restricted free agent Marcus Kruger. The center signed a two year deal, and will likely return to his role as 4th line center with the Blackhawks. According to Capgeek.com, Kruger will carry an annual cap hit of $1,325,000.
Kruger was the final piece of the NHL roster. General Manager Stan Bowman said the remaining roster spots will be filled by players in the organization. As it stands now, there are two (maybe three) forward positions available. The most important slot is the always elusive 2nd line center. Joel Quenneville said Friday that Michal Handzus would not begin the season at the 2C position, which leaves the door wide open for Brandon Pirri, who led the American Hockey League in scoring last season. If he fails, Kruger, Handzus or Drew LeBlanc could step in to that role, but make no mistake, Pirri is the man they want for the job.
In other news, Bowman told the press that Marian Hossa will not require back surgery this offseason. That’s obviously good news, as Hossa would likely have missed a chunk of the regular season had he needed a procedure. The other injured Blackhawks, Handzus (wrist, knee) and Bryan Bickell (thumb surgery), are expected to fully recover from their injuries in time for training camp.
With prospects camp over, the free agents signed, and the roster set…sit back and enjoy your summer, Hawk fans. It’s going to be a short one.
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