Could a team try to sign Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger to an offer sheet? Do the Bruins have a clear-cut backup goalie?
Could Kruger receive an offer sheet?
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa notes the Chicago Blackhawks’ difficulty in re-signing fourth-line center Marcus Kruger, suggesting this is a good opportunity for a rival club to squeeze the ‘Hawks by signing Kruger to an offer sheet. He points out the Colorado Avalanche have the cap space to do so. While no player has signed an offer sheet this summer, the threat of one led to trades involving Dougie Hamilton and Brandon Saad.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For that to work, Kruger has to be willing to sign an offer sheet. If that was the case, surely such a move would’ve happened by now. Several teams besides the Avalanche have the cap space to pitch an offer sheet, but many of them are under lower self-imposed cap ceilings and have already made their significant investments this summer.
While the Avs have the cap space to sign Kruger, it’ll have to be an expensive offer to sway him (over $2.5 million, which is a lot for a fourth-line center). The Avs already have Matt Duchene, Mikhail Grigorenko, Carl Soderberg and John Mitchell as their centers, so they have no reason to pursue Kruger. They could also be among those clubs with a self-imposed cap ceiling.
Kruger’s agent recently claimed his client was willing to be patient while the Blackhawks free up sufficient cap space to re-sign him. It’s expected Bryan Bickell ($4 million annual cap hit) or Kris Versteeg ($2.2 million) could be dealt.
No clear-cut backup for the Bruins.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports the Bruins lack a proven backup goaltender. He notes GM Don Sweeney hasn’t ruled out bringing in a veteran backup, though he intends to give Jeremy Smith, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre the opportunity to earn that spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s not many decent backups available in the UFA market. Ray Emery, Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Budaj appear the best of the bunch.