Marcus Kruger trade still 'likely' for Blackhawks, per report

The 27-year-old Swedish center could be on his way out of Chicago.

The Chicago Blackhawks don’t appear to be done making trades. Forward Marcus Kruger is still “likely” to be traded, a league source tells Scott Powers of The Athletic.

It was previously reported the Blackhawks and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights had a deal in place to see Kruger and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk end up with the Golden Knights on Wednesday. The deal didn’t happen, but van Riemsdyk was selected by Vegas in the expansion draft only to be traded to the Carolina Hurricanes less than 24 hours later.

Powers’ most recent report doesn’t state what team the Hawks may deal Kruger to.

Kruger is set to make $3.08 million for each of the next two seasons, which was a price the Hawks couldn’t pay with Marian Hossa’s $5.275 million cap hit on the books. But Hossa’s announcement that he would sit out next season because of a medical condition have may have complicated any deal the Hawks were trying to make. By placing Hossa on long-term injured reserve, they’ll be able to go over the cap by that amount, freeing up the money to retain Kruger if the Hawks choose.

“Yeah, there have been a lot of these rumors around, but Marcus is no different than any other player. I’m not going to comment on rumors out there, but people are stating it as if it’s a fact,” Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman said of Kruger being at the center of trade rumors during his pre-draft press conference Thursday. “There’s a lot of speculation, but it’s not fair to the players for me to be commenting on what’s been rumored out there. I don’t really have anything to add on that front.”

Kruger, 27, scored five goals and 17 points in 70 games last season with Chicago. The defensive-minded center has been a key cog to the Hawks’ penalty kill unit and has won two Stanley Cups (2013 and 2015) with the team.