The signing ensures the likely composition of the team’s top defensive pairing for years to come.
Seabrook is still under contract for the coming season with a cap hit of $5.8 million. This reported contract will kick in when Seabrook is 31 and take him through his 39-year-old season. It also retains his status as the team’s highest paid defenseman.
That gives the Blackhawks Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov, Marian Hossa, Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford all under contract through at least the 2019-20 season. (Only Crawford’s contract will be up at that point.)
That group accounts for a lot of cap space and may not look quite as good four years from now, but it still makes sense in the present for the ‘Hawks whose championship window is now and not five years down the road.
With the team’s success, it puts them in a situation where they have to put out contracts like the one Seabrook reportedly signed on Saturday in order to retain their key players. If they don’t give Seabrook this deal, someone else does next summer.
In both of the last two seasons Seabrook played all 82 games, scoring eight goals and 23 assists last year. He posted negative relative possession numbers last season and finished with a dCorsi of -74.26.
Nonetheless, Seabrook has been a key piece of all three of Chicago’s recent Stanley Cup championships. The deal may look ugly as Seabrook enters his mid to late thirties, but it keeps the team with solid top pairing defensemen and should all but guarantee that Seabrook pulls off the rare feat of playing for just a single team in his career.
He was drafted by Chicago in the 1st round of the 2003 draft and has since played 10 seasons for Chicago, missing just 10 total games in the last nine seasons. That’s particularly impressive considering the kind of wear and tear he goes through with Chicago going deep in the playoffs almost every year recently.
Friedman reports that the deal carries a full no move clause for the first six years, with a partial no trade clause in the final two years.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.