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UPDATED: Bowman ‘Optimistic’ Blackhawks Can Sign Montador

Steve Montador

Steve Montador (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By: Rick Stewart)

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Updated on June 30, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks sent a seventh round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for the negotiating rights to defenseman Steve Montador.

(NOTE: On Thursday, sources told The Score that the Blackhawks and Montador agreed to terms on a multi-year contract. )

On Thursday, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was confident the two sides would reach a deal before the deadline at 11 a.m. on Friday.

“I did speak to his agent after the trade was completed (and) we had a good discussion,” Bowman told the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. “Obviously, the goal is to get him signed before (Friday). I’m optimistic on that. We have to get going on that. He certainly brings a lot of different attributes to the table that we like and I think he’d be a great fit on the blue line.”

After trading Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers, the Blackhawks are looking to fill a void on defense. They’ll try to do that with Montador, a player they’ve had interest in for a while.

“We actually tried to acquire him at the trading deadline,” Bowman said. “He’s the style of defenseman that we’ve been lacking here. He’s got a lot of skill for a guy who has some physicality to his game.

“He’s got the ability to move the puck but a couple of other facets about him is he’s a right-handed defenseman, which is really at a premium these days.”

In the roster turnover since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks have lost a lot of their physicality and grit. And as Bowman says, it’s those characteristics, along with his dressing room presence, that Montador would bring to Chicago.

“He’s a character kid and I think in a lot of ways he’s just coming into his own right now,” Bowman said. “He’s improved the last three years. Each season he’s had increased ice time and played almost 20 minutes a night last year.”

Montador’s contract isn’t the only one Bowman will be working on as the Friday deadline approaches. The Blackhawks would also like to assure that restricted free agents Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and Chris Campoli will be playing in Chicago next season.

“We’ve had discussions but call it in the early stages,” Bowman said. “It’s a matter of getting that finished. We’re going to keep at it (Thursday). It’s hard to predict if it will be a day or two. It certainly could be or it could stretch a bit longer. The goal is to get those guys done in short order.”