Blackhawks

Blackhawks sign defenseman Brandon Manning to two-year deal

Blackhawks sign defenseman Brandon Manning to two-year deal

The Blackhawks were seeking additional help on the blue line going into free agency and added Brandon Manning into the fold on a two-year deal worth $2.25 million per year, according to TSN's Frank Seravelli, to do just that.

Manning had a career year with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, racking up seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 65 games while averaging 17:57 of ice time. But he's more of a solid bottom pairing defenseman than a top-four, which the Blackhawks are in need of.

"I think we were trying to improve in an area that we were a little bit lacking," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "Brandon has a bit of a different style than all of our defensemen, really. He's got some physicality to his game. He's sort of just coming into his own. He's 28 years old, but his last season was his best year.

"He's one of those — I guess you could call him a little bit of a later bloomer. He didn't make the NHL until he was in his mid 20s, but he's really playing some good hockey."

Bringing in Manning adds some competition to the mix and a veteran presence on the back end for the Blackhawks despite the desire to perhaps get more of a high-end player on the first day of signings.

At the same time, the Blackhawks also lacked defenders that are hard to play against and Manning checks that box — even if it wasn't the biggest one.

"This is my first time going through something like this," Manning said. "Playing the last three years in Philly, weighing options, the interest Chicago showed in me and the way they value the way I play, that became a huge factor. I can be more of a stay-at-home D-man. I can also play that physical game they’re looking for. When you look at depth, you look at other guys and the shot. It came down to those guys convincing me I could have an opportunity with a good group and a good team."

Hawks Talk Podcast: Kris Versteeg on signing with IceHogs and possibility of one more spin with Blackhawks

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AP

Hawks Talk Podcast: Kris Versteeg on signing with IceHogs and possibility of one more spin with Blackhawks

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with two-time Stanley Cup winner and the newest member of the Rockford IceHogs Kris Versteeg.

Versteeg explains his recent medical issues and his experience playing last season in the KHL and Swedish Elite League. He also talks about why he decided to sign a one-year deal with Rockford and defines his role with the IceHogs.

Versteeg weighs in on getting a third chance to play for the Blackhawks organization and what would be the perfect ending to the Kris Versteeg hockey movie?

1:00 - Why sign with Rockford?
2:00 - KHL experience
3:00 - Back on track in Sweden
4:30 - Health update
6:00 - Deal with Rockford
7:30 - Contact with Kane and Toews?
9:00 - Family coming to Rockford?
10:00 - Mentor or last fling with Hawks?
12:00 - Kris Versteeg Movie Ending

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks remove interim tag and name Derek King head coach of Rockford IceHogs

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Rockford IceHogs

Blackhawks remove interim tag and name Derek King head coach of Rockford IceHogs

One day after mutually parting ways with assistant coach Don Granato, the Blackhawks announced Thursday that they have removed the interim label from Derek King's title and named him the head coach of the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. Anders Sorensen also received a multi-year extension to remain on the staff as an assistant.

While King may have been a worthy candidate for the vacant assistant coaching position on Jeremy Colliton's staff in Chicago, the Blackhawks like the continuity this gives them within the organization. King is familiar with Colliton's philosophy and has a strong rapport with his players.

After Colliton was promoted to head coach of the Blackhawks on Nov. 6, 2018, King moved into his role on an interim basis while the organization got their house in order. Sheldon Brookbank was later added to Colliton's coaching staff with the Blackhawks, which led to Sorensen — who had previously worked as a development coach for the last five years — stepping in for Brookbank. 

King, 52, guided the IceHogs to a 29-28-3-4 record and fell short of the Calder Cup Playoffs after reaching the Western Conference Final a year ago. He joined the organization in July of 2016.

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