Cam Ward agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
Financial terms were not released.
The 34-year-old goaltender was 23-14-4 with a 2.73 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and two shutouts in 43 games (42 starts) with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He got his 300th NHL win Dec. 12, 2017, a 3-2 shootout victory against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford, 33, was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 GAA and .929 save percentage last season but missed the final 47 games with an upper-body injury. General manager Stan Bowman said June 21 that Crawford is expected to be ready for 2018-19.
"I'm certainly aware of the situation, and I'm definitely going into it with the mindset that I'm there to support Corey," Ward said. "I think very highly of Corey as a goaltender and I look forward to meeting him and being a partner with him. Certainly, I'm in the support role when called upon. I'll do the best I can to contribute and get wins for the club, like Corey will be doing at the same time."
Carolina selected Ward in the first round (No. 25) of the 2002 NHL Draft. He is 318-244-84 with a 2.70 GAA, .909 save percentage and 27 shutouts in 668 NHL games (654 starts), all with the Hurricanes. He is the Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers leader in wins and shutouts.
As a rookie, Ward won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs by going 15-8 with a 2.14 GAA, .920 save percentage and two shutouts, helping Carolina defeat the Edmonton Oilers in seven games in the Final.
"Cam was someone we talked to right away when the period opened up to interview players," Bowman said. "First off, he's got the experience, played over 600 games in his career; that's an important factor with somebody who has a pedigree of winning and can handle the load if need be. Obviously, we're not expecting him to have to carry the load, but it's nice knowing you have a goalie in Cam who's played a lot of hockey."
The Blackhawks also agreed to terms with forward Chris Kunitz on a one-year contract and defenseman Brandon Manning on a two-year contract.