February 27, 2011
Didn't Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman get the memo that big trades before Deadline Day are all the rage, not re-signings?
Today, things became official as Seabrook inked a five-year extension that will pay him $29 million. His cap hit will be $5.8 million, higher than Duncan Keith's,(notes) but for much shorter of a term.
Seabrook, 25, ranks 13th in Blackhawks franchise history among defenseman, and second among all active Blackhawks, with 452 regular-season games played over parts of six National Hockey League seasons. He has registered 143 assists, 13th all-time by a Blackhawks blueliner, and 177 points, 16th among Chicago defensemen, since his NHL debut in 2005. He has also paced club defensemen in hits in each of the last four campaigns.
Seabrook, who would have been a restricted free agent this summer, now joins Duncan Keith, Brian Campbell(notes) and Niklas Hjalmarsson(notes) on a Chicago blueline that's locked up through at least the 2013-14 season. Our friends at CapGeek note that the team has 12 players signed for $49.3 million for next season.
The Blackhawks will have around $24 million tied up on their defense going forward, something Bowman noted yesterday is an important investment.
‘"The defense is the key that makes everything go for us,'' Bowman said Saturday. ‘"We've got a lot of really skilled forwards, and the style of hockey we like to play is dependent on having mobile, puck-moving defensemen.''
"We believe [Seabrook has] been instrumental in getting us to the point we're at, and he's going to be instrumental in keeping us at this level,'' Bowman said. ‘"He's at a good young age . He's really just entering the prime of his career."
The 25-year old Seabrook has finished second in ice time on the Blackhawks for the past three seasons and is vital cog on both the power play and shorthanded units.
So is $5.8 million a year for Seabrook an overpayment or a smart signing by Bowman that'll solidify Chicago's defensive depth for the next few seasons without killing their cap?