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Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville: Marcus Kruger 'could' play by end of March

The Swedish forward has a chance of returning as early as March 26.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger "could" play on the Western Canada road trip at the end of March, coach Joel Quenneville told reporters Wednesday.

The Hawks play a back-to-back against the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks on March 26 and 27, respectively.

Kruger, 25, signed a three-year extension worth $9.25 million Tuesday. He was set to become a restricted free agent for the second consecutive offseason. Last summer, he waited until August before settling for a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

The Swedish forward underwent successful surgery to repair a dislocated left wrist Dec. 18 that he suffered in a 4-0 win over the Oilers the night before. His initial timetable to return was 'approximately four months' and it appears it has not changed. He has one assist in 33 games this season, although he's played his usual role as a key penalty killer. Chicago placed him on injured reserve Dec. 28.

When Kruger returns to the ice he will be wearing No. 22 instead of his traditional No. 16. Kruger opted to give Andrew Ladd the number back after Chicago acquired the Winnipeg Jets captain.