Marcus Kruger was tendered a qualifying offer from the Chicago Blackhawks, but as of Saturday, there was no new deal in place for the 25-year-old center.
From ESPN Chicago:
The Chicago Blackhawks and restricted free agent forward Marcus Kruger are continuing to negotiate a new contract, a source said on Saturday.
“Things are progressing OK,” the source said. “Nothing really to report, but nothing to worry about either.”
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman described negotiations with Kruger and his agent as going “very well” on Tuesday and thought they were getting closer to a deal.
Kruger’s offensive totals were down in 2014-15. He had only seven goals and 17 points in 81 regular season games, but was relied heavily upon on the penalty kill. The previous season, Kruger recorded a career high 28 points in 81 games.
With the trade of Ben Smith to San Jose this season, Kruger emerged as the leader among Chicago forwards in ice time on the penalty kill per game.
The Chicago Blackhawks have re-signed forward Andrew Desjardins. And they’ve kept him for a bargain.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Desjardins’ contract is for two years with a cap hit of $800,000. That’s only slightly more than the $750,000 cap hit he carried this season.
“Took far less to stay,” his agent, Todd Reynolds, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Loves it there.”
Desjardins was traded to the ‘Hawks in March, coming from San Jose for Ben Smith. The 28-year-old finished with one goal and three assists during Chicago’s Stanley Cup run.
GM Stan Bowman said after the final: “We would love to bring him back. It was a nice surprise the way Desjardins played a huge role for us. I think he played a bigger role than we probably expected.”
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The San Jose Sharks have scored one of the biggest UFA defenseman prizes, inking former Pittsburgh blueliner Paul Martin to a four-year deal.
UPDATE: Per CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz, it’s a $4.85 million average annual cap hit — $19.4 million total. It makes Martin the team’s second highest-paid defenseman, behind Brent Burns.
Martin, 34, has spent the last five seasons in Pittsburgh and further established his reputation as a solid, all-around veteran defenseman. After an injury-filled ’13-14 campaign he rebounded nicely last year, scoring 20 points in 74 games while averaging 22:47 per night — and in the playoffs, with the Penguins’ defense decimated by various ailments, Martin averaged a whopping 24:36.
In San Jose, he’ll add to a defense that already included Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon, who recently inked a five-year pact with an average annual cap hit of $3.27 million. On paper, it’s a good defensive unit with nice depth that should help with new head coach Peter DeBoer’s prediction of a “big bounce-back” season in San Jose.