Blackhawks expected to keep Marcus Kruger through expansion draft, per report

Despite reports of a deal between Chicago and Vegas, the Marian Hossa news is shaking things up.

Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger may not be heading to Vegas after all following the news that Marian Hossa will miss next season, according to The Athletic’s Scott Powers.

It had been reported that the Blackhawks and Golden Knights had a done deal that’d see Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk end up in Vegas on Wednesday, but now there’s less urgency on the Hawks’ side to move both players given that Hossa’s situation will free up millions in salary cap space.

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 Hossa’s $5.275 million cap hit on the books. By placing Hossa on LTIR, they’ll be able to go over the cap by that amount, freeing up the money to retain Kruger if the Hawks choose.

At this point, it seems like they’re re-opening up their options, not that Kruger will definitely be back. Powers merely reports that Kruger is not expected to end up in Vegas on Wednesday. His future with the Blackhawks is still reportedly “unknown.”

The Golden Knights have to select at least one player from the Blackhawks in the expansion draft, which will likely be van Riemsdyk. They could simply select him straight up, unless the rumored deal between the two sides is actually about the Hawks sending assets to Vegas so it selects someone else. There had been a report about that kind of deal being possible before the TVR-Kruger stuff gained steam.

But this signals a deal for Kruger is not in place, and it’s still possible he ends up being retained for next season. Given most people were operating under the assumption that he was a goner no matter what because of the salary cap, this is just an initial example of how Hossa’s situation could alter the Hawks’ plans this summer.