The Chicago Blackhawks signed forward Marcus Kruger to a three-year contract extension Tuesday, keeping the 25-year-old with the team through the end of the 2018-19 season.
According to reports, the contract will pay Kruger just over $3 million per season, coming in at a total of $9.25 million for the three years.
Kruger, who has played with the Blackhawks for two of their Stanley Cup championships, has spent most of this season on the injured reserve list as he recovers from a dislocated wrist. The center underwent surgery for the injury earlier this season, and head coach Joel Quenneville is confident that he will return for at least a few games during the regular season.
Known primarily for his defensive skills, Kruger will likely continue to occupy the fourth-line center role for the foreseeable future. Without a ton of options at center in the system, and with Teuvo Teravainen likely switching to center on a full-time basis (barring a promotion to right wing on the Hawks' top line), Kruger will remain the team's top penalty killer and an important piece on face-offs in the defensive zone.
With Kruger in the fold, the Blackhawks will still have plenty of work to do this offseason. New contract extensions for Artem Anisimov and Brent Seabrook will kick in for the team, and they'll also have to deal with bonuses from Artemi Panarin's remarkable rookie season. Add to the mix the restricted free agency of Andrew Shaw, and the Hawks could be looking at making some tough financial decisions to make Kruger fit into the fold for next season.