Brent Seabrook

Blackhawks react to Brent Seabrook's injuries and what he's meant to franchise

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USA Today

Blackhawks react to Brent Seabrook's injuries and what he's meant to franchise

Brent Seabrook has been an absolute warrior for the Blackhawks. He's been one of the most durable players in franchise history and there's a reason he's worn an "A" on his sweater all these years.

So when the Blackhawks announced Thursday that Seabrook will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season due to injuries, his teammates immediately felt the impact of it.

"I was just thinking that this morning," Jonathan Toews said. "Day 1 that he's not around, you notice it right away. He's one of those vocal guys that sits in here and the lounge and everywhere you go, he's one of the biggest talkers and just social guys in the room that brings a lot of energy every day. You miss his presence for sure."

Nobody has developed a stronger connection with Seabrook than Duncan Keith, who broke into the NHL the same year Seabrook did in 2005-06. They have been best friends ever since.

"We sit beside each other in every locker room," Keith said. "It’s different not having him on the bus and things like that. He’s definitely missed. He’s battled through these injuries for a long time. Anybody else, they probably would have been missing a lot more time than that over the course of the last several seasons. Shows the mentality and the type of person that he is.

"Maybe it’s a little bit stubborn and some people might say maybe it’s not smart in some ways to battle through that, but that’s the type of attitude you need. You win with guys like that, who are willing to play through pain. The thing about him, too, is you never heard it. It wasn’t like it was at the forefront of anything. He just went about his business and was never complaining about certain things that sometimes people do over time."

Toews said he knew Seabrook was battling through nagging injuries, but not to the extent where it required him to have three surgeries — right shoulder and both hips — over a three-month span. But he's not surprised Seabrook has pushed through them over the years.

"That's just the way he is," Toews said. "He's earned that reputation as a guy who puts the team before himself, time and time again. Obviously a great leader in this locker room. Across the board, he brings it all — plays through a lot of issues and pain obviously, and he's done that in the playoffs and regular season over the years. It's kind of crazy to look at how many games he's played in the playoffs and regular season. That adds up. Give him credit for what he's been able to do. Just hope everything goes to plan and he gets healthy and fresh and ready to go whenever the recovery period is up."

To Toews' point, Seabrook has played in 1,237 games, including playoffs, and has accumulated 27,499:55 minutes of ice time. And this is the first time he's missing significant time because of an injury.

It's hard to find a player that's more well-respected on the Blackhawks and in hockey than Seabrook.

"We'll miss him so much in the locker room and just being around," Patrick Kane said. "Such a huge part of our room. Hopefully he gets his injuries fixed and comes back better than ever."

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How the Blackhawks should utilize their newfound cap space

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AP

How the Blackhawks should utilize their newfound cap space

The Blackhawks dropped significant news on Thursday, announcing season-ending injuries to defensemen Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook.

First and foremost, you think about the health of both players and the potential long-term effects. It's the second major surgery on his right shoulder in seven months for de Haan, who has played a full 82-game season just once in the NHL.

And in Seabrook's case, he's never had a long-term injury in his 15-year professional career and is now facing three surgeries (right shoulder and both hips) in the next three months. He will turn 35 in April and has four years left on his contract after this season. His future will certainly be something to monitor going forward.

On the business side of things, it's no secret the Blackhawks have been up against the cap seemingly all season long. But by putting de Haan and Seabrook on long-term injured reserve, they cleared up an additional $11.425 million in cap space.

So what could the Blackhawks do with that newfound money?

The Blackhawks are currently sitting dead last in the Central Division and seven points out of the final wildcard position in the Western Conference, which isn't exactly where they expected to be. 

They could look at the rental market and try to acquire a high-end player who’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but it wouldn't make sense to give up future assets just to try sneaking into the playoffs. The only trades made should be ones that could help the Blackhawks both in the short and long term, similar to the Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz swap a year ago.

If they are going to explore the trade market, the Blackhawks also have to be careful about acquiring players with term because Strome is due a new contract this summer and same with Dominik Kubalik, who's on pace for 22 goals and 35 points. Once the offseason rolls around, the contracts of de Haan and Seabrook go back on the books and the Blackhawks can only exceed the cap by up to 10 percent.

What the Blackhawks could and should do is look to take on bad contracts on expiring deals to receive future assets as sweeteners, such as draft picks or prospects. After all, they don’t have a second-round pick in 2020 — it was shipped to Montreal in the Andrew Shaw trade. 

A couple names that immediately come to mind: Buffalo defenseman Zach Bogosian and Calgary forward Michael Frolik, both of whom are on playoff-contending teams looking to create some financial wiggle room at the trade deadline to improve their roster.

Bogosian is 29 years old and in the final year of his contract that carries a $5.142 million cap hit, which is the second-highest among Sabres defensemen. He's appeared in just 12 games this season and reportedly requested a trade from the Sabres. 

Frolik, who spent two and a half seasons in Chicago from 2010-13, is in the last year of his contract that carries a $4.3 million cap hit. His role has diminished significantly on a Flames team that has just $490,833 in available cap space, according to Cap Friendly.

One thing is clear: The Blackhawks shouldn't make any rash short-term decisions that could jeopardize the future just to salvage this season. If a turnaround is going to happen, it must come from within no matter how GM Stan Bowman utilizes the extra cap space.

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Blackhawks announce Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook will miss rest of 2019-20 season

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USA Today

Blackhawks announce Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook will miss rest of 2019-20 season

The Blackhawks announced Thursday that defensemen Calvin de Haan (right shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (right shoulder) will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season and have been placed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Seabrook is also scheduled to have surgery on his right hip in early January and his left hip in early February.

By placing de Haan and Seabrook on LTIR, the Blackhawks freed up $11.4 million in cap space, giving them a little more than $12.8 million to spend at the trade deadline, according to Cap Friendly. But it's unclear how GM Stan Bowman may utilize it going forward.

The Blackhawks went into the three-day holiday break sitting seven points behind the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference with a game in hand but have four teams to jump. 

For de Haan, it's the second time in seven months he's had major reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder, which is a concerning development. He has two more years left on his contract after this season that carries a $4.55 million cap hit.

For Seabrook, it's the first time in his 15-year NHL career he will be sidelined by a significant injury. He has been one of the most durables athletes in the history of hockey, appearing in at least 95 percent of the team's regular season games in 13 consecutive seasons. Most of the games he's missed were due to rest at the end of the season after a playoff berth and seed were secured.

Since he entered the league in 2005-06, only three players have appeared in more games (regular season and playoffs combined) than Seabrook (1,237): Joe Thornton (1,239), Alex Ovechkin (1,250) and Patrick Marleau (1,273). But Seabrook has accumulated more minutes than all three of them by far with 27,499:55.

At age 34, Seabrook has reached a point where he felt it was best to take care of his nagging injuries rather than play through them like he has been for the past several years. His contract runs through the end of the 2023-24 campaign and has a $6.875 million cap hit, but you wonder how this could impact his future as he approaches Year 16 at age 35.

The Blackhawks also revealed Brandon Saad will be sidelined for three weeks with a right ankle injury. He was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 21 — retroactive to Dec. 19 — and won't return to the lineup until the calendar flips to 2020.

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