The Chicago Blackhawks still have some work to do to construct their roster and stay under the NHL salary cap, and two popular players could potentially be on the chopping block.
According to multiple reports, including from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Blackhawks are at the very least listening to offers and could be actively shopping center Marcus Kruger. Kruger, who missed a good chunk of the 2015-16 season with a wrist injury, signed a three-year contract with the Blackhawks in the spring, but the team could be looking to unload the deal as they attempt to clear room to address other roster deficiencies.
Kruger may not be alone in terms of getting sent out of Chicago. According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, the Blackhawks are also listening to offers for soon-to-be restricted free agent Andrew Shaw. The Blackhawks could potentially move his rights for a draft pick, as the team doesn’t have a first round selection in Friday’s NHL Entry Draft.
Shaw could command similar money to Kruger, if not slightly more, if a team gets a chance to give him an offer sheet, and the Hawks could opt to send him out of town instead of worrying about having to match a competing offer.
As things stand now, the Blackhawks have 17 players (nine forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders) under contract for next season, with nearly $6.4 million in available salary cap space. They’ll need at least four forwards and likely one more defenseman with that money, so clearing more room could give them some maneuverability heading into free agency, which starts next week.