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Hawks player reviews: Marcus Kruger

Marcus Kruger played a key role for the Hawks as their fourth-line center and he was on their top penalty-kill unit. Cal Sport Media/AP Images

Marcus Kruger, Forward

2013-14 cap hit: $1,325,000| Age: 24 | Season stats: 8 goals, 20 assists, plus-6

Season recap: Kruger continued to play a key role for the Blackhawks as their fourth-line center and on the top penalty-kill unit. He was a big reason why the fourth line and penalty kill were effective again this season despite some personnel changes. He also improved on his faceoffs.

Season highlight: Kruger scored the game-winning goal in the third period to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Nov. 23.

Season lowlight: They weren't necessarily his fault, but Kruger was on the ice for five goals by the Los Angeles Kings over the final three games of the Western Conference finals.

Final grade: B

Inside the numbers: Kruger was second on the team and first among the forwards with an average of 2:33 of shorthanded ice time a game.

Notes: Kruger was sixth in the NHL with a 56.7 faceoff winning percentage. He had a 46.2 percentage last season.

Quotes: "If you can play, you can play, right?" Kruger on playing through an injury in the second round of the playoffs.

What's next: The Blackhawks likely will look to Kruger to assume the same role next season. He has one more season remaining on his contract before becoming a restricted free agent again.