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Blackhawks agree to deal with Montador, a day after getting rights from Sabres

CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to a four-year contract with defenceman 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 (2009-11).

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