Former Cornell defenseman spent 2010-11 with Bern of the Swiss National League
By Ken Preston
RALEIGH, NC - Jason Karmanos, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Justin Krueger on a one-year, entry-level contract. The deal will pay Krueger $525,000 at the NHL level, or $62,500 at the minor-league level in 2011-12, and he will receive an $85,000 signing bonus.
"Justin developed his overall game in his first season of pro hockey in Switzerland," said Karmanos. "He has good size and is a strong skater who concentrates on the defensive side of the game."
Krueger, 24, completed his first season of professional hockey with SC Bern of the Swiss National League in 2010-11, helping the club to a 35-12-3 regular-season record and a third-place finish. The Düsseldorf, Germany, native scored one goal, earned 10 assists (11 points) and compiled a plus-6 plus/minus rating while playing in all 50 of the team's regular-season games. He added two assists in the team's 11-game playoff run that ended in a Game 7 loss in the semifinals against Kloten.
Krueger was a teammate of Checkers' centerman Riley Nash at Cornell, and is the son of Ralph Krueger, who served as a scout within the Hurricanes system at one point and is now an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers. The elder Krueger was also a Swiss National Team coach at Olympic and other International tournaments for over a decade.
Here a great read about the relationship between father and son from last year's IIHF tourney after Krueger and Team Germany beat Team USA in overtime in front of 77,000+ fans. Krueger cheers for son
The rest of the press release is after the jump.
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 notched seven goals, earned 25 assists (32 points) and accumulated 103 penalty minutes in 135 games for the Big Red. Krueger was named the ECAC's top defensive defenseman following his senior season in 2009-10, as he earned a career best plus-15 plus/minus rating and played a key role in Cornell's top-rated penalty kill.
The Hurricanes drafted Krueger in the seventh round, 213th overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Along with playing collegiate hockey and professionally in Switzerland, he has represented Germany in international competitions, including the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships. Krueger is expected to play for Team Germany at the upcoming 2011 IIHF World Championships in Slovakia.