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Blackhawks sign defensemen Madison Bowey to 2-year, $1.45 million deal

Chicago added to an already crowded defensive group.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday afternoon, the Blackhawks announced the signing of free-agent defenseman Madison Bowey.

It’s a bit of a surprising move considering the Blackhawks current defensive depth. His contract is for two years and carries an annual $725,000 salary cap hit. It is a two-way deal for this season and turns into a one-way contract next season. The Blackhawks immediately placed Bowey on waivers, allowing him to be put on the the taxi squad or assigned to Rockford.

Originally drafted in the second round (53rd overall) by the Washington Capitals in the 2013 NHL Draft, Bowey spent the last season with the Red Wings, where he set career highs in game played (53), goals (3) and assists (14). The 25-year-old right-handed shot had 39 points (5 G, 34 A) in 154 games during his NHL career. He was recently a on professional tryout with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls.

Despite coming off a breakout offensive season, Bowey’s advanced statistics have been less than impressive:

The signing is a bit out of left-field but the motivation is likely two-fold:

  • It gives the Blackhawks another right-handed shot on D with Adam Boqvist on the COVID-19 Protocol list.
  • It helps the Blackhawks meet the minimum exposure requirements for the expansion draft in terms of defensemen.

While the second point is definitely valid, let’s hope there isn’t much emphasis on the first, because there are several defensemen already with the Blackhawks that have experience playing on the right-side: Nicolas Beaudin, Lucas Carlsson, and Wyatt Kalynuk. Those three are legitimate prospects that should be getting playing time either in the NHL or be re-assigned to Rockford to play top minutes. However, Stan Bowman is fond of reclamation projects, so the Blackhawks may be interested to see if Bowey can reach his pre-draft potential despite his shortcoming in his NHL career so far.

Of course, we may not need to worry because it’s possible Bowey was just signed for depth in the AHL after Nick Seeler left the organization, though that defensive group is also crowded and has more veteran signings than prospects.