Restricted free agent Marcus Kruger and the Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to a one-year deal, the team announced Friday. The deal is worth $1.5 million, per TSN's Bob McKenzie. That gives the team a bit more than $900K in salary cap space to add a seventh defenseman and round out the roster. McKenzie also notes that Kruger's taking a "short-term hometown discount" and will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season if he isn't signed long-term by then.
The Blackhawks made the signing possible by trading forwards Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom and a 2017 third-round pick to the Hurricanes in a four-player deal Friday. The Hawks acquired defenseman Dennis Robertson, Jake Massie and a 2017 fifth-round pick from Carolina.
Kruger, 25, has established himself as one of the league's top checking-line centers and penalty killers. He helped the Hawks to a 83.4 penalty-kill percentage during the regular-season in 2014-15, while also chipping 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 in the process -- and should continue to fill that role going forward for coach Joel Quenneville.
Kruger signed a two-year, $2.65 million contract extension after the 2012-13 season. The 6'0, 186-pound center had eight goals and 20 assists in 2013-14. The Hawks drafted Kruger in the fifth round, 149th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft.