Blackhawks’ offseason moves
by Scott King
- Cam Ward signed with Blackhawks for one year, 3 million with a full no trade clause per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
“He’s obviously got the experience,” Blackhawks general manager and vice president Stan Bowman said on a conference call following the signing. “Played in over 600 games in his career, so that’s an important factor with somebody that has a pedigree of winning and being able to handle that load if need be.
“Obviously, we’re not expecting him to have to carry the load for us, but we do think it’s nice knowing that you have a goaltender in Cam that has played a lot of hockey.”
The goalie will likely serve as backup to a hopefully healthy Corey Crawford. “I’m certainly aware of the situation,” Ward said on the same conference call Bowman was on earlier. “Definitely going into it with the mindset that I’m there to support Corey. I think very highly of Corey as a goaltender and look forward to meeting him and being a partner with him.”
Ward, 34, won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes his rookie season in 2006. The goaltender has spent all 13 of his NHL seasons with the Hurricanes logging a 318-244-84 record with a 2.70 goals against average, .909 save percentage and 27 shutouts.
Ward went 23-14-4 last season with a 2.73 goals against average, .906 save percentage and two shutouts, largely in a backup role to former Blackhawk Scott Darling.
- Blackhawks signed four-time Stanley Cup champ Chris Kunitz to a one-year deal.
The 38-year-old veteran forward played in all 82 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last year and tallied 29 points. He registered one points in 17 playoff games with the Lightning this past postseason.
“I think that’s kind of a good dynamic for winning teams nowadays,” Kunitz, also on the call, said of the Hawks’ roster which will consist of veteran and young, promising players heading into the 2018-2019 season. “You need the guys to have experience and a lot of teams are letting their young guys kind of propel their careers by giving them opportunities.”
Kunitz has 609 points (263 goals, 346 assists) in 966 career NHL games.
- Hawks signed defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal.
Manning, 28, has played in 207 games with the Philadelphia Flyers (2011-2018), including 65 last season in which he tallied seven goals and 12 assists along with 113 hits. He has 43 career points (11 goals, 32 assists) and 368 hits with Philly.
- Blackhawks signed 17-year-old Swedish defenseman Adam Boqvist to a three-year entry level contract.
The Hawks drafted Boqvist at #8 overall this past draft. Bowman felt that in signing him, the Hawks will be able to have a more hands-on approach to his development.
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