Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis traded for center Marcus Kruger last July, believing the former Chicago Blackhawks player could help the Canes reach the playoffs this season,
On Thursday, Kruger, who has spent much of the season as the Canes’ fourth-line center, was placed on NHL waivers. Also going on waivers was forward Josh Jooris, another offseason addition.
NHL teams have until noon Friday to make a claim on either of the players. If unclaimed, the Hurricanes could assign them to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, allowing roster flexibility and free the way for some callups.
The Canes (24-21-9) host the Vancouver Canucks on Friday in the sixth game of their eight-game homestand.
“We’re going to try and dress a lineup we think can be able to compete and be dangerous offensively every night,” Canes coach Bill Peters said Thursday. “We’ll see what happens.”
Checkers forward Valentin Zykov leads the AHL with 23 goals this season. Forwards Warren Foegele (21 goals) and Aleksi Saarela (18) also have been consistent goal-scorers for Charlotte and Lucas Wallmark has NHL experience with the Canes.
Kruger, 27, was obtained from the Vegas Golden Knights on July 4, 2017 after the expansion team traded for the Swede. Kruger helped the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups and on the day of the trade Francis said, “We were determined to bring in experienced players with winning pedigrees and Marcus is another addition who fits that mold.”
Kruger, who has a salary cap hit of $3.08 million, has one goal and five assists in 48 games with Carolina this season, playing a little less than 11 minutes a game. He has been used on the penalty kill and has won 55 percent of his faceoffs.
Jooris, 27, has three goals and three assists in 30 games and has often been a healthy scratch. He was signed to a one-year free-agent contract on July 1, 2017.