Today, the Chicago Blackhawks officially locked up a big part of their core, signing 25-year-old defenseman Brent Seabrook to a five-year extension worth $28 million. After posting four goals and 30 points last season with the Cup Champions, Seabrook already hit a career-high of 33 points with 21 games left in the season.
However, it is not his offensive flair that warranted spending the big bucks on this 6’3″ defender.
Seabrook averages 24:25 of ice time per game, good for second on the team. He also leads the blue line with 171 hits while blocking 113 shots on goal. While he plays the point on the top PP unit, he only scored two PP goals on the year which does not do his booming shot any justice. Keeping Seabrook back there with the man advantage is a big reason why Chicago holds the second best PP in the League, converting at a 24.3 percent rate.
Now that Seabrook will officially play for the team next year, six of the current seven defensemen are locked up through the season with Jordan Hendry the only impending UFA. Although the team holds only roughly $ 10 million in cap space, they will only have to retain certain RFAs like Michael Frolik, Troy Brouwer, Viktor Stalberg and Jake Dowell –none of which compare to the raises former Blackhawks like Cam Barker, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg or Andrew Ladd would have cost.
Currently Seabrook has paired with fellow two-way defender Niklas Hjalmarsson. Even though Seabrook paired almost entirely with Duncan Keith last season, moving to the second pairing will provide some added balance that the blue line needs.
Most importantly, by extending Seabrook the Blackhawks maintain stability and in the worst case scenario will not lose any of their talented blue liners for nothing.
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