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Blackhawks using Trevor van Riemsdyk to bait Golden Knights into taking Marcus Kruger, per report

Well this is an undeniably interesting strategy.

Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks - Game One Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights are discussing parameters of a trade deal that would see forward Marcus Kruger and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk sent to the NHL’s new expansion franchise, reports TSN’s Frank Seravalli. The deal would qualify as the Golden Knights’ pick from the Hawks in the expansion draft.

You’re probably wondering why this deal would make sense for both teams, so let’s try to unpack it a bit here. To be clear, this is just speculation on what’s going on, but here’s what I think GM Stan Bowman is trying to do.

The Blackhawks are essentially trying to use van Riemsdyk as bait to convince the Golden Knights to take on Kruger’s contract. They don’t have to leave TVR available to Vegas in the expansion draft because they could just trade him to another team soon instead. If that happens, the Blackhawks still have Michal Rozsival to cover draft requirements, and the Golden Knights would be stuck choosing between underwhelming options for their expansion pick from Chicago.

So the Hawks’ pitch to Golden Knights GM George McPhee is essentially, “We’re going to trade TVR to another team and not let you have him unless you agree to take on Kruger’s contract as well.”

For the Blackhawks, the goal here is obvious. They’re resigned to losing TVR — either via trade or at the expansion draft — unless they send assets to Vegas to keep him so they’re trying to bait the Golden Knights into a package deal that ships out Kruger’s contract, too. For the Golden Knights, if the alternative is being stuck taking an underwhelming guy like Ville Pokka, they may prefer getting both TVR and Kruger, even if the latter’s $3.08 million cap hit isn’t a sweet deal.

Seravalli says the package deal is looking “likely,” but not 100 percent done yet. Assuming it does get done and the Hawks can shed Kruger’s contract simply by tying it to TVR, that would be a real win for Bowman.