Marcus Kruger is seeking to sign a long-term contract extension with the Chicago Blackhawks and is patiently waiting for the organization to clear salary-cap space in order to complete a deal, a according to a source Friday.
The Blackhawks placed a qualifying offer on Kruger, who became a restricted free agent after last season, in late June and the two sides have been negotiating a new contract during the last few weeks. The Blackhawks have enough cap space to sign Kruger for a couple of seasons, but they need more cap space to be able to finalize a longer extension, according to the source. Kruger understands the Blackhawks’ cap situation and isn’t in a rush to complete the deal, the source also said.
Kruger, 25, led the Blackhawks’ forwards in penalty-kill ice time and had seven goals and 10 assists in 81 regular-season games last season. He also had two goals, two assists and averaged 15:06 of ice time during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run. He has been a part of two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and has played in 287 regular-season games over the last five seasons.
Kruger was drafted by the Blackhawks in the fifth round in 2009. He signed a two-year, $2.65 million contract extension prior to the 2013-14 season.
Kruger is one of three restricted free agents the Blackhawks are still working to sign. The Blackhawks also placed qualifying offers on forward Joakim Nordstrom and defenseman Viktor Svedberg and have yet to agree to terms.