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Marcus Kruger to take short deal if Blackhawks can't open up enough cap space, per report

It sounds like everyone expects Kruger to be in Chicago going forward.

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Restricted free agent Marcus Kruger will settle for a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks if the team can't open enough salary cap space for a long-term deal, reports Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc. Kruger has been pushing to get a multi-year pact inked this offseason but may not get it due to the Hawks' lack of cap space.

Kruger, 25, has established himself as one of the league's top checking-line centers and penalty killers since his debut in 2011. He helped the Hawks to a 83.4 penalty-kill percentage during the regular season in 2014-15, and also chipped in seven goals and 10 assists in 81 games.

The Swede has been the driving force behind the Blackhawks' fourth line for the past few years, winning two Stanley Cups, and should continue to fill that role going forward for coach Joel Quenneville. While there have been major changes across the roster all offseason, Kruger's spot in Chicago appears safe for now.

Kruger signed a two-year, $2.65 million contract extension after the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot, 186-pound center had eight goals and 20 assists in 2013-14. The Hawks drafted the center in the fifth round, 149th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.

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