Blackhawks' Kruger takes center stage


Blackhawks' Kruger takes center stage

Marcus Kruger has made a quick ascension through the Blackhawks ranks and will play second-line center tonight. And Patrick Kane, whose place hell be taking, said Kruger will do just fine there.

Kane, whos back at right wing on the top line tonight, played with Kruger a few games last season and liked what how the young Swede played.

Hes an easy forward to play with, Kane said. He kind of lets the other guys handle the puck and tries to do all the work for them. At the same time hes skilled enough where he can make plays, make saucer passes and little passes around defensemen that can get you in good position. I played with him a couple games and I like him a lot. Hell be good for those two guys (Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa).

Kane said he hasnt talked to Kruger specifically about taking over at No. 2 center but they have chatted about Krugers quick rise through the ranks.

Hes pretty happy to be up here, Kane said. Its good to see a player that young and that motivated to keep doing well and keep getting better. Hes been good on the power play, makes good plays and puts his linemates in good position to score goals. So Im happy for him.

Jamal Mayers, who played with Kruger earlier this season, also thinks hell be fine.

Hes a very smart player, Mayers said. At the beginning of the year, playing with him you felt he was just scratching the surface and his game would come. Hes getting rewarded for that. I think hell do great.

Blackhawks 2017 NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports

Blackhawks 2017 NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports

Stay up to date with the Blackhawks' selections in the 2017 NHL Draft, and their scouting reports.

Round 1, pick 29: Henri Jokiharju, defenseman

Round 2, pick 57: Ian Mitchell, defenseman 

— What you need to know: Mitchell, 18, scored eight goals and 29 assists in 53 regular-season games with the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and also scored a goal and three assists in 10 playoff contests.

— Scouting report: Mitchell is a little undersized (5-foot-11, 165 pounds), but is known to be a smooth skater and puck-mover. He carries a right-handed shot, which GM Stan Bowman said is a "commodity" in the NHL these days.

Round 3, pick 70: Andrei Altybarmakyan, forward

— What you need to know: Altybarmakyan, 18, scored 20 goals and 25 assists in 31 regular-season games with the Serebryanye Lvy St. Petersburg of the Maritime Hockey League. He also tallied nine points in 27 games with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg.

— Scouting report: An offensively skilled player with a sneaky good shot. He's 5-foot-11, 183 pounds with a left-handed shot, and is known to be a playmaker.


Wake-up Call: Big Blackhawks deals on draft day; What to make of the Bulls rebuild?; Buehrle back in town; 'Up and down' Cubs

Wake-up Call: Big Blackhawks deals on draft day; What to make of the Bulls rebuild?; Buehrle back in town; 'Up and down' Cubs

Here are some of the top stories from a busy Friday in Chicago sports:

Saad Day: Blackhawks deal Artemi Panarin for familiar face

Blackhawks pull off stunner, trade Niklas Hjalmarsson to Coyotes

Bulls have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

Mark Buehrle confirms 'that' rumor from Game 3 of the 2005 World Series

This is the identity of the 2017 Cubs so far: 'Up and down, up and down'

Preview: Mark Buehrle Day on CSN

Preview: Fire get another shot against Orlando Saturday on CSN after recent draw

White Sox offense can't stay hot in loss to A's

Blackhawks trade back, select Henri Jokiharju at No. 29

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly