Stan Bowman solidified his repackaged defense corps on Thursday, inking Steve Montador to a 4-year $11 million agreement. The $2.75M annual cap hit is slightly more than you would have wanted to spend, but the difference isn’t significant enough to debate over.
The Blackhawks had acquired Montador’s rights late Wednesday from Buffalo for the seventh-round draft choice Chicago received from Florida this past Monday when the Hawks sent Tomas Kopecky’s negotiating rights to the Panthers. Kopecky signed with the Panthers two days later; $12M over 4 years.
Montador, 31, isn’t huge (6-0, 210) but he’s tough and plays with an edge the Hawks lacked on the blue line. He’s best-suited as a third-pair defenseman on a contender, which the Blackhawks should be again in 2012. But he will kill penalties and fill time on the power play if need be. He’s solid all around, but not really above-average at anything in particular. He gets into trouble when he leans too heavily into the offensive end or in the physical side of his game. But he makes good reads, a solid first pass and is trustworthy. Montador also has a big shot the Hawks might use on a second power play unit and he’s adept and willing to patrol the crease on the defensive end.