The Chicago Blackhawks
are suddenly a little short at the center position, so they are reportedly looking overseas for help as the defending Stanley Cup champions try to hang on to a position in the top eight of the Western Conference standings.
, a fifth-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft from Sweden, is on his way join the Blackhawks, according to a report by the Swedish news outlet SPORT-Expressen, which was later confirmed by his Swedish Elite League club's website.
Kruger, who turns 21 in May, signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks this summer but decided to spend one more season in the SEL. He led Djurgardens IF, a team based in Stockholm, with 35 points (6 goals) in 52 games this season. His team was knocked out of the SEL playoffs Sunday.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds, Kruger was ranked as the No. 5 prospect in Chicago's system in the Future Watch issue of The Hockey News. Kruger was ranked No. 6 among Blackhawks prospects by the website Hockey Future's earlier this month.
Chicago has an immediate need at center because of a pair of key injuries. Center Dave Bolland
is out indefinitely with a concussion, and sometimes center Patrick Sharp
left Chicago's game Sunday against Phoenix with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
The Blackhawks are currently sixth in the West, but only point clear of Dallas and Calgary, who are ninth and 10th in the conference.