Over the next five weeks, CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
Brent Seabrook might have completed the finest season of his career. In 2011-12, Seabrook played 24 minutes and 43 seconds per game in 78 games. He matched his career-high with nine goals -- two on the power play -- and had 25 assists for 34 points. He led the team with 198 hits and 165 blocked shots and ranked No. 9 in the NHL with a plus-21 rating. In six games against the Coyotes, he registered one goal, two assists and a plus-1. He also delivered 26 hits and 12 blocked shots in the six games.
Boden's take: Its probably unanimous, Brent Seabrook was the Blackhawks best defenseman this past season. He led them all with his nine goals, led the team in hits and blocked shots, had the second-highest plusminus of his career -- and, like a lot of the core guys -- did his best work down the stretch when the team needed a push to get into the playoffs without its captain (four goals, six assists in the last 14 games).
He was just as effective against Phoenix, and he did it all in the first year of the five-year, 29 million contract extension he signed a little more than a year ago. Hes kept his hunger even though hes already eaten. Its not like Seabrook has never had bad games, but I cant remember a time where hes lacked effort. While you can even get Jonathan Toews to crack a smile once in a while, Seabrooks really the most serious guy in that locker room. Hes not from the Windy City, but he epitomizes the Blackhawk version of Chicago tough.
Myers' take: On a defensemen group that had its highs and lows, Seabrook was very steady last season. He was solid on the power play because he wasnt afraid to shoot, and reliable in front of his own net because he wasnt afraid to go down and block a shot. And his offense in the late regular seasonearly postseason was vital to the Blackhawks.
Chris: Is it possible to clone him and put the clone on the second defensive pair with Nick Leddy? Im not sure how much more can be reasonably asked of Seabrook if we just keep asking for more of the same. Without someone else like him, Id hate to see where this defense would be, as currently constituted, if they were to be without him for any stretch of time. Maybe the thing that needs to be asked is whether - as in the case with defensive partner Duncan Keith - the Hawks can shave a minute or two of ice time per game off his workload by the rest of the blueline corps building more trust.
Top pair. Power play point man. Penalty killer. Physical presence. Beast. Hes in his prime, entering his eighth season, turning 28. Lets see if they pull out every stop to keep him around at this level as long as they can, before wear and tear kicks in.
Tracey: Seabrook rewarded the Blackhawks in the first year of his contract extension in 2011-12, and hes likely to do the same next season. He should also be a big presence on the power play to start the season, too.
How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out some of Seabrook's highlights above.
Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell
Up next: Nick Leddy