Blackhawks sign Chris Kunitz, Cam Ward and Brandon Manning

The Chicago Blackhawks signed forward Chris Kunitz and goaltender Cam Ward to one-year contracts and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal Sunday.

They join a Chicago team looking for a comeback after a disastrous season. Goaltender Corey Crawford got hurt in December and the Blackhawks finished the season with 33 wins and 76 points, their lowest totals since they went 31-42-9 during the 2006-07 season. They finished last in the Central Division.

The Lightning signed Kunitz, 38, to a one-year, $2 million contract last year, hoping that he would work his Stanley Cup magic in Tampa. Kunitz has won four titles -- with Anaheim in 2007 and with Pittsburgh in 2009, 2016 and 2017.

Kunitz did play in all 82 games and posted respectable numbers with 13 goals and 16 assists. The Lightning posted the most points in the Eastern Conference but lost in the conference finals to eventual champion Washington.

Kunitz was an All-Star in 2012-13; his career plus-191 is fifth among active players.

Ward has spent his entire 13-year career with the Carolina Hurricanes, winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie season and taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

Ward is the franchise leader in games played by a goalie, in addition to wins, saves and shutouts.

The Hurricanes signed Scott Darling to be the starting goaltender last offseason, but he struggled badly, and as a result, Ward made 42 starts for Carolina.

Ward, 34, went 23-14-4 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. He earned $3.1 million in the second year of a two-year, $6.6 million contract.

Upgrading its situation in net was one of Chicago's top offseason priorities. General manager Stan Bowman said last month he expects Crawford "to be back and ready to go in training camp.''

Anton Forsberg was acquired in the Artemi Panarin trade with Columbus last June, but he struggled in his first year as Crawford's backup, and his status is up in the air with the addition of Ward.

Manning, 28, set career bests in goals (7), assists (12) and points (19) in 65 games for the Philadelphia Flyers last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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