Hawks agree to terms with Michigan Tech's Tanner Kero

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms with Michigan Tech forward Tanner Kero on a two-year contract, the team announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Kero, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward, had 20 goals, 26 assists and was a plus-22 in 41 games for Michigan Tech this season. He was the Western Collegiate Hockey Association player of the year and a Hobey Baker nominee.

“I think they did a very good of communicating with him their plan, their developmental plan,” said Kero’s agent Pete Rutili, who is with Acme World Sports. “They didn’t hesitate when his season ended. They jumped right in there to express their interest. It stayed consistent throughout the week.

“He took in [Monday’s Los Angeles Kings' game] and sat up there with Stan Bowman, Norm Maciver and John McDonough. They expressed their plan, expressed everything they had in store and why they feel he’s a good fit. He had some very good discussions with Barry Smith about him as well and his strengths as a player and why he’d be a good fit with the Blackhawks organization.”

Kero’s two-year contract will go into effect next season. He has agreed to an ATO contract and will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL this season.

Kero is the fourth college player the Blackhawks have agreed to terms with this season. They also recently signed free agent Kyle Baun (forward, Colgate) and past draft picks Vince Hinostroza (forward, Notre Dame) and Mike Paliotta (defenseman, Vermont).

Acme World Sports also represents Blackhawks forward Teuvo Teravainen and defenseman Kimmo Timonen and Blackhawks prospects Alex Broadhurst, Ville Pokka and Vince Hinostroza. Kero is the only one of those players to sign as a free agent with the Blackhawks.