Blackhawks Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman spoke with the media on Sunday following the announcements of the club's free agent signings. He also talked about the team signing 2018 first-round pick Adam Boqvist to an entry-level deal.
Here are some of his answers to the media.
Video: Stan Bowman on Sunday signings
On why the team pursued Cam Ward
Cam was someone we talked to right away when the period opened up to talk to players. A couple of things… first off, he's obviously got the experience. He's played over 600 games in his career, so that's an important factor with somebody who has the pedigree with winning and being able to handle that load if need be. 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 who has played a lot of hockey. He had a good season last year and in the last few years, at this point in his career, he's still able to play quite a bit. I think it forms a really nice tandem between him and Corey. At the end of the day, I think you need to have two proven goaltenders if you want to have a realistic chance. We still have good depth at goaltending. Looking at all the teams that have had success, you use three or four goalies a year. You can't get by with just one or two. We still have a lot of younger guys still growing in that role. With Cam, he brings some experience in the role and I think as you get older and sometimes your role changes from being a number one to being a 1A or a two. Cam has shown the ability to transition into that and still be an effective goalie.
Video: Cam Ward on signing with Chicago, backing up Crawford
On where he sees Chris Kunitz fitting in and what attracted the Blackhawks to him
Well, the first thing about Chris is he's got some versatility to the way he can be used by the coaching staff. Talking to Joel (Quenneville) the last couple of days, that was one thing that was really appealing. Joel was really excited about the potential to have someone like Chris… who with winning four Stanley Cups, he has a lot of ingredients to his game, competitive guy and I think he can really help bolster our veteran group. We've got some great players on our team, we've won multiple Cups and this gives another voice like that on how to play the right way and guide these young players into taking their next step in their careers. He was used in primarily a checking role last year but he still scored 13 goals. He played a lot with Ryan Callahan and he did move up throughout the season and played on more offensive lines as well. He obviously had a really long run in Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby on the left side. I think it's still early to tell what line he's going to be on but he brings a lot of intangibles and intensity to the game.
Video: Chris Kunitz on balance of Blackhawks roster
On Brandon Manning and how he fits into the group of defensemen
Brandon has a bit of a different style than all of our defensemen, really. He's got some physicality to his game and is just coming into his own. He's 28 years-old, but his last season was his best year. I guess you could call him a little bit of a late bloomer. He didn't make the NHL until he was in his mid-twenties but he's really playing some good hockey. He did have seven goals last year, I wouldn't call him an offensive defenseman but he would have been right at the top of our defensive list. I think he can shoot the puck, but first and foremost he takes pride in playind defensive and simple hockey. He has a little bit of an edge to his game, he's a competitive guy and I think those are all attributes are going to add something different to the mix we have.
Video: Brandon Manning on decision to sign with CHI
On signing Adam Boqvist
That's a big move for us and, in particular, for the development of Adam over the next couple of seasons. Obviously he's got a ton of talent. We're really excited about his skill set and what he brings to the table. He's a dynamic offensive defenseman. We're looking to play a role in his development over the next couple of years and the goal is to try and get him ready for the NHL as soon as possible. We don't really have a timetable on that, but it was just recently we were able to get him into our organization and we had discussions last week about how probably the right thing to do is get him signed. We can play a bigger role in his development over the coming years and we love the potential and skill set he has. Now it's a matter of taking that to the next level.