The Carolina Hurricanes signed defenseman Justin Krueger, 24, to a one year entry level contract yesterday. He was drafted by the Hurricanes in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. If he plays in the NHL, he will get paid $525,000 or $62,500 if he spends the season in the minors. Krueger also received an $85,000 signing bonus with the contract.
He developed his skills playing professional hockey in Switzerland with SC Bern of the Swiss National Team. His club finished in third place (35-12-3) and he played in all 50 games. He accumulated one goal and 10 assists with a +6 rating, including two assists in the team’s playoff run that ended in Game 7 of the semifinals.
Prior to beginning his professional career, Krueger (6’2”, 205 lbs.) spent four seasons at Cornell University from 2006-2010. During his collegiate career, he scored seven goals and assisted 25 others in 135 games. He was awarded as the ECAC’s top defensive defenseman in his last season mainly because of his +15 rating and the minutes he played killing off penalties (Cornell was the best in the nation at penalty kills). Though it is unlikely that a seventh round pick will pan into an NHL caliber player, Krueger is the kind of steady, reliable defenseman that most winning teams have.
Krueger is expected to play for Team Germany at the upcoming 2011 IIHF World Championships in Slovakia.