Last night, the Blackhawks traded a conditional 7th round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for the negotiating rights to defenseman Steve Montador. The Hawks had until Friday at 11am to work out a deal with the defenseman, or he would become an unrestricted free agent.
Now, the two sides have struck a 4 year, $11 million deal. That means Montador will carry a $2.75 million annual salary cap hit.
Personally, I like the deal. Yes, maybe ideally he comes a little cheaper, and for a year less, but the Hawks identified their target, and got it done. With quality free agent defensemen dropping like flies, the Hawks had to act quickly, and they did.
Montador,31, brings with him 9 seasons of NHL experience. He is a versatile defenseman who can play on both the power play and penalty kill, and he's a right handed shot. “He plays a style that has been lacking here,” Hawks GM Stan Bowman said Thursday. “He brings physicality and character. Plus he is a right-handed shot, which is at a premium these days.”
The Hawks filled their most important need, and tomorrow's free agent frenzy hasn't even begun yet. “We're going to look for someone who can play in our top six, but that doesn't mean it has to be for huge dollars,” Bowman said. “There certainly are players we have in mind that could play in our top six.”
It should be an interesting weekend for Blackhawk and NHL fans.