After trading Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell earlier this month to free up cap space, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Blackhawks are shopping center Marcus Kruger and initiating conversations about restricted free agent Andrew Shaw.
Kruger, 26, was given a three-year extension in March that will see him earn just over $3MM per season. The former fifth round pick has been a big part of the bottom-six and penalty kill for the Blackhawks in recent years but was limited to just 41 contests in 2015-16 after dislocating his left wrist. Never a big scoring threat Kruger has chipped in 88 points in career 328 contests.
The biggest news is that Shaw might be on the move, as most expected him to be re-signed after sending Bickell out. GM Stan Bowman was less than forthcoming on the topic however: “I realize everyone wants an answer to that question, but it’s just too hard to make guesses at this point…Signing Shaw is on the list of things we will look at once we figure out what the salary cap number is.”
Perhaps, with the news that the cap will increase just $1.6MM to a total of $73MM for the upcoming season, Bowman has decided that Shaw will be too expensive to keep around. The 24-year old is coming off a year that saw him post 34 points and be one of the Hawks’ best players in the post-season despite their early exit. He’ll likely be looking for close to $4MM per season, something that Chicago might not be able to stomach with only $6MM left under the cap this year and Artemi Panerin (the reigning rookie of the year) due for an extension next summer.