Kruger, who has one goal and five assists in 48 games for the Hurricanes this season, is currently making just under $3.1 million per season with the team after an eventful offseason that saw him traded from Chicago to the Vegas Golden Knights, and then to the Hurricanes.
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If Kruger clears waivers, he could be assigned to the team’s minor league affiliate in Charlotte, or the team could buy out his contract.
Before Blackhawks fans begin pining for a reunion, the salary cap question will likely keep a Kruger return from occurring, even if the team wants it. They have approximately $3.85 million in salary cap space available for the NHL trade deadline, and acquiring Kruger likely wouldn’t give them the bang for their buck that they would be looking for if they try to get a fresh infusion of talent for a run at a playoff spot.
The Blackhawks are currently seven points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with only 29 games left to play. If they miss the postseason, it would be their first time missing the playoffs since 2008.