Hawks fill top priority with Montador
BY ADAM L. JAHNS June 30, 2011 11:42PM
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 22: Steve Montador #4 of the Buffalo Sabres and James van Riemsdyk #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers vie for position in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Steve Montador; James van Riemsdyk
Updated: July 2, 2011 12:10AM
Defenseman Steve Montador didn’t think twice about signing with the Blackhawks, even with free agency a day away and possibly a bigger pay check available. He didn’t want to become an unrestricted free agent and test the market today.
“The No. 1 thing that I was looking for was a chance to win the Stanley Cup,” Montador said. “It came sooner than I suspected. It was a pleasant surprise that I was contacted [by the Hawks].
“At the end of day, I want to win a Cup. Chicago had all those elements. I have no regrets about not checking out July 1.”
Less than 24 hours after acquiring his rights from the Buffalo Sabres late Wednesday, the Hawks locked Montador in with a four-year, $11 million deal on Thursday.
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said getting a defenseman was his top priority, with Montador being his top choice.
The Hawks attempted to acquire Montador at the trade deadline last season. The 31-year-old had two productive seasons with the Sabres, leading them in blocks, setting career highs in assists (21) and points (26) and seeing ample penalty-kill time last year. He also has a right-handed shot, which Bowman wanted.
The main thing is that Montador, who played nearly 20 minutes a game last season, has some “abrasive” qualities that coach Joel Quenneville covets and the Hawks were missing. Montador talked about “playing with attitude” on Thursday.
“We want to bring a little different element to our team,” Bowman said. “We didn’t have the style of player that Steve brings.”