Blackhawks, Montador agree to 4-year deal

The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to a four-year contract with

defenseman Steve Montador on Thursday, keeping him off the

free-agent market.

The Blackhawks made the move a day after acquiring Montador’s

negotiating rights from Buffalo for a seventh-round draft pick in

2012 or 2013. The 31-year-old Montador would have become an

unrestricted free agent Friday.

Montador had five goals and a career-high 21 assists last season

and led the Sabres with a career-best plus-16 rating in 73 games.

He has 28 goals, 89 assists and 762 penalty minutes over parts of

nine seasons with the Calgary Flames (2001-06), Florida Panthers

(2005-08), Anaheim Ducks (2008-09), Boston Bruins (2009) and Sabres