Rumor has it that the Blackhawks are trying to get the Vegas Golden Knights to take Marcus Kruger, and are sweetening the deal by throwing in Trevor van Riemsdyk.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 31, 2017
The rules of the expansion draft state that the Knights can pick:
- One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
- Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.
- One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.
This concoction gives the Blackhawks the upper hand but will benefit both teams in the end. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is working his magic in a similar way he did when he traded Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell to the Carolina Hurricanes. The trade freed up space in the salary cap as Bickell was signed to a $4.5 million contract.
That’s the same thing that is happening here. The Blackhawks need to free up space in their budget, and eliminating Krugers $3.08 million cap hit will help. But, the Knights might not find Kruger as desirable alone due to him being a more expensive player.
Kruger is a strong centerman and will definitely be an asset to the Knights. This season he tallied a total of 18 points with five goals and 13 assists. Although he is mostly a fourth-liner, he is a strong defensive-minded player and is good at shutting down his opponent.
When you pair him with a player like van Riemsdyk, the deal becomes even sweeter. As a young player, van Riemsdyk has a lot of room to grow and a big career ahead of him. He hasn’t quite established a strong spot on the Blackhawks but he still put up 16 points in the 2016-17 season with five goals and 11 assists.
Both players will be beneficial for a new franchise like the Knights. While most of the league’s star players are excluded from the expansion draft, the Knights have the ability to create a skilled team with a lot of depth.
Tracy Myers of CSN Chicago predicts that this upcoming season for the Blackhawks is going to include trying to get rid of medium-to-sizeable contracts and relying on young, inexpensive players to fill the gaps.
I think she’s hit the nail on the head. If the Blackhawks play it right, they will be able to make the team stronger overall while maintaining a good combination of young, skillful players and stars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook.
While nothing is set in stone yet, this potential trade gives both teams what they need. What are your thoughts? Tweet them to me @madhouse_update