The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with forward Chris Kunitz (KOO-nihtz) and goaltender Cam Ward on one-year contracts that run through the 2018-19 season and defenseman Brandon Manning on a two-year contract that runs through the 2019-20 season.
Video: Blackhawks sign three in free agency
Kunitz, 38, spent last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he was one of four Tampa Bay players to appear in all 82 games, registering 29 points (13G, 16A). He also appeared in 17 Playoff games with the Lightning in 2018, tallying one assist. Kunitz has won four Stanley Cups over the course of his career (Anaheim-2007; Pittsburgh-2009, 2016, 2017), the most among all active NHL players.
The Regina, Saskatchewan native has played in 966 career National Hockey League games with Anaheim (2003-05; 2005-09), Atlanta (2005-06), Pittsburgh (2008-17) and Tampa Bay (2017-18), recording 609 points (263G, 346A). He has skated in 178 career Playoff games, notching 93 points (27G, 66A).
A 6-foot, 195-pound forward, Kunitz went undrafted and signed as a free agent with Anaheim in 2003. He has spent the majority of his 14-year career with Pittsburgh, where he played in 569 career games and recorded 388 points (169G, 219A) from 2008-17. His 169 goals with Pittsburgh ranks ninth in Penguins all-time scoring history.
Internationally, Kunitz helped Team Canada to a Gold Medal in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. He played in six games, scoring a goal in the Gold Medal game against Sweden. Kunitz also earned a Silver Medal with Canada at the 2008 World Championships, where he skated in nine games, recording seven points (2G, 5A).
Ward, 34, appeared in 43 games (42 starts) last season with Carolina, registering a 23-14-4 record with a 2.73 GAA and a .906 SV%. He has appeared in 668 career National Hockey League games all with Carolina, posting a 318-244-84 record, a 2.70 goals-against average and .909 save percentage over 13 seasons. Ward is the Hurricanes all-time leader in games played (668), minutes played (38,437), wins (318) and shutouts (27) and his 318 career wins, 668 games played and 17,261 saves rank fifth among all active NHL goalies.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native helped the Hurricanes capture the 2006 Stanley Cup, while also taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. During that postseason, Ward had a 15-8 record with a 2.14 GAA and a .920 SV% as a rookie during the playoffs, becoming just the fourth rookie netminder to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. In 41 career playoff games, he has a 23-18 record with a 2.38 GAA and a .917 SV%.
A 6-foot-1, 185-pound goaltender, Ward was drafted in the first round (25th overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. During the 2010-11 campaign, he earned his first NHL All-Star game nomination and notched a 37-26-10 mark in a league-leading 74 games with a 2.56 GAA and a career-best .923 SV%.
Ward has represented his country at three IIHF World Championships, earning a Gold Medal with Team Canada at the 2007 IIHF World Championship while recording a 5-0 record with a 2.20 GAA and a .915 SV%. He also helped Team Canada to a Silver Medal at the 2008 IIHF World Championship. In 16 games internationally, he's posted a 13-3-0 record, 2.55 GAA and a .907 SV%.
Manning, 28, skated in 65 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, recording career highs in goals (7), assists (12) and points (19). His seven goals ranked third among the Flyers' blueliners. He also recorded 113 hits, which ranked as the sixth highest total among Philadelphia skaters. Manning was held scoreless in six games during the 2018 postseason.
The Prince George, British Columbia native went undrafted and signed with Philadelphia in 2010. He has spent his entire career with Philadelphia (2011-18), notching 43 points (11G, 32A) and 368 hits in 207 career games. He has appeared in 12 total playoff games, recording one assist.