One of the Blackhawks’ top defensive specialists will continue to twist in the wind.
On Monday, Marcus Kruger’s agent, J.P. Barry, told the Chicago Tribune his client is prepared to remain unsigned until GM Stan Bowman figures out the team’s cap situation.
In an email to the Tribune on Monday, Barry wrote that “we will be patient” while Bowman looks for ways to make room.
As a restricted free agent who did not receive an offer sheet from another team, Kruger does not have many options. Barry said if the cap space does not become available in the next month or so, Kruger “will have no choice later in August but to do a shorter deal.”
Kruger, 25, didn’t file for arbitration in the hope of trying to secure a long-term deal in Chicago.
Though hardly an offensive dynamo — he scored seven goals and 17 points in 81 games last season, then four more in 23 playoff games — Kruger is a key contributor both defensively and on the penalty kill; no Blackhawks forward had more shorthanded ice time during the postseason, and no forward blocked more shots (20).
Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks are roughly $400,000 over the $71.4 million salary cap, and are able to remain a maximum of 10 percent over during the offseason.
It’s been rumored the club is trying to jettison Bryan Bickell and his $4 million cap hit, but has yet to find any takers.