Hurricanes acquire Marcus Kruger from Golden Knights

The Carolina Hurricanes continue to accumulate former Chicago Blackhawks.

And former Stanley Cup winners.

The Canes on Tuesday acquired center Marcus Kruger from the Vegas Golden Knights, two days after Kruger was traded to Vegas by the Blackhawks, who again are being squeezed by the NHL salary cap. In return, the Golden Knights received Carolina’s fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

“We were determined to bring in experienced players with winning pedigrees, and Marcus is another addition who fits that mold,” Canes general manager Ron Francis said in a statement. “He’s a solid, two-way center who has achieved success both in the NHL and internationally.”

The Golden Knights on June 22 traded defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Canes for a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Blackhawks made van Riemsdyk available in the NHL expansion draft and the Golden Knight took him, then sent him to Carolina.

Playing 398 games with the Blackhawks, Kruger helped win a pair of Stanley Cups, was a defensive-minded forward who was strong on draws -- winning 52.4 percent of his faceoffs the past fours season -- and an effective penalty killer. He has two years remaining on a contact that has a salary-cap hit of $3.083 million, which lifts Carolina to $57.8 million for 2017-18 – according to CapFriendly.com – and over the NHL salary cap floor of $55.4 million for next season.

The Canes on Saturday signed free-agent forward Justin Williams to a two-year, $9 million contract, bringing back one of the stars of Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup run and a three-time Cup winner. Francis said the Canes could make more moves and did by adding the veteran Swedish forward.

Kruger, 27, had five goals and 12 assists in 70 games for the Blackhawks last season. He had 33 goals and 72 assists in parts of seven seasons with Chicago, winning Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015.

At Carolina, Kruger will join van Riemsdyk and former Chicago teammates Scott Darling, Teuvo Teravainen and Joakim Nordstrom. The Stockholm native also will add another Swede in the locker room along with Nordstrom, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck, who was drafted by Chicago in 2011 and played four games for the Blackhawks in 2014-15.

Kruger competed for Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey last fall and in the 2017 IIHF World Championship – with Lindholm and Rask – in May as the Swedes took the gold medal. He also was on Sweden’s Olympic team in 2014 that claimed silver medals.

A year ago, in their deal with Carolina, the Blackhawks had to part with Teravainen, a former first-round draft pick, in order to move Bryan Bickell’s salary and alleviate cap concerns. Bickell, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, retired after the season.

The Chicago Tribune reported that as part of a Vegas-Chicago agreement, Vegas took van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft, then Kruger later was traded to Vegas for “future considerations,” completing the deal. The end result: Carolina got both players, Chicago got its cap space and the expansion Golden Knights benefited with draft picks.

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman traded Nordstrom and forward Kris Versteeg to the Canes in September 2015. One reason for Versteeg being part of the deal: needed cap space for Chicago to sign Kruger to a new contract.

Bowman traded the negotiating rights to Darling, who was due to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, to Carolina in late April, and the Canes quickly signed the goalie to a four-year contract.

Source : http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/nhl/carolina-hurricanes/article159570364.html

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