Kruger deal could be looming; draft pick Hayden returns

Kruger deal could be looming; draft pick Hayden returns
July 11, 2013, 5:30 pm
Share This Post

The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t made a deal with restricted free agent Marcus Kruger yet, but his agent said the two sides are still in talks in the hopes one can be made.

Kruger’s representative J.P. Barry said via email on Thursday that the two sides “have been negotiating daily in search of a two year bridge deal.” Kruger wrapped up his three-year entry-level contract that had a $900,000 cap hit per season.

The 23-year-old Kruger was the Blackhawks’ fourth-line center through most of the season. But he made his biggest mark, along with the recently traded Michael Frolik, as a penalty killer. When the Blackhawks had their season-ending media sessions on June 27, Kruger reflected on being part of the Stanley Cup-winning team, and the hopes he’d stay with it.

“I would love to stay here. I love this organization. We’ll see if they want me to be here but I’m so glad I got the chance to play here with these guys and this organization,” said Kruger, whose pass to Johnny Oduya set the game- and Cup-winning goal scenario (completed by Dave Bolland) in motion.

“Being a part of a winning team and everything like that, how that feeling was, it’ll help me in this career,” he said. “You always want to win so badly. Now when you’ve done it, you just want to do it again. But now you know you can achieve it.”

The Blackhawks have approximately $2.5 million of cap space remaining for the 2013-14 season.

HAYDEN’S “RETURN”

John Hayden had quite the reaction when the Chicago Blackhawks selected him at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on June 30.

“I kind of blacked out, to be honest,” said Hayden, who was selected 74th overall that day. “It was the best feeling I’ve ever had. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

For Hayden, who was born in Chicago but whose family moved from here not long after, his “return” to Chicago for the Blackhawks’ prospect camp has been a fun one. He scored two goals in the first scrimmage on Wednesday and has enjoyed taking in the city sights – and sirloins.

“We went to Wrigley (Wednesday) night and we’ve had a couple of good steak dinners,” Hayden said with a grin. “It’s been great to be in the city.”

But Hayden’s main purpose is to improve before he heads to Yale, where he’ll play for the 2013 Frozen Four-champion Bulldogs. Hayden spent 2012-13 in the U.S. National Team Development program, where he scored 15 goals and 29 points in 45 games. For Hayden, the determination to improve continues.

“There’s a lot of work to do. (Yale is) the defending national champion, so I’m going to do everything I can this summer to help them compete for another title,” he said. “Details are huge in hockey. It’s going to take a lot knowing the details and being disciplined to make it to the next level.”