The Blackhawks have talked about how much Brent Seabrook has meant to them. Now they’ve made a long-term commitment to keep him.
The Blackhawks and Seabrook agreed to an eight-year extension worth $55 million on Saturday night. Seabrook, who’s in the final year of his current contract, was happy that the deal got done now.
“It’s a huge relief,” Seabrook said after the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. “It was something I wanted to get done before the season started. I don’t know how the Blackhawks felt, but it shows [they had] a lot of confidence in me.”
Seabrook’s deal means the Blackhawks have their top defensive duo wrapped up for quite a while. Duncan Keith’s current deal expires at the end of the 2022-23 season, one season before Seabrook’s new extension will run out.
“Obviously I’ve played with Seabs for a long time. He’s been an unbelievable teammate and a great friend,” Keith said. “I’m happy to know we’ll play together for a long time.”
It also means the Blackhawks will probably be looking at cap issues again next season. But general manager Stan Bowman is willing to figure out the numbers to keep Seabrook long term.
“You can’t just go pick up a Brent Seabrook. If you don’t have someone like that, to be the performer that he is on the ice as well as the leader he is off the ice, if you don’t have Brent, you’re looking for the exact same player. We know what he’s all about,” Bowman said. “The salary cap is a puzzle that we all have to figure out. Every team faces those challenges. But I look at it as a great situation to be in.
"The hardest thing is to find talented players that are committed to winning. And when you have them, you do everything you can and then you make it work. There’ll be new challenges every year, but there was never a hesitation that we would bring Brent back.”
Seabrook will be 39 by the end of his new deal but Bowman wasn’t concerned with where the defenseman will be at that point in his career.
[NBC SHOP: Buy a Brent Seabrook jersey]
“You maybe could say that five to 10 years ago but if you watch these guys, a lot of these guys are in better condition at 30 than they were at 21 or 22. Just the commitment they have to training and to fitness and nutrition,” Bowman said. “I have no concerns with that. I’m very impressed with our guys and they show no signs of slowing down.”
Seabrook is the latest player who the Blackhawks have locked up long term. He could have tested the free-agent waters next summer but he wanted no part of that. He wanted to stay with the Blackhawks. Now he will.
“I liked the eight years. I want to finish my career here in Chicago. We’ve had a lot of success here. There’s no place I’d rather be and that’s what I expressed through my agent. I was very pleased when that happened,” Seabrook said. “I’d like to spend my whole career here. It’s up to me now to fulfill my end of the bargain and go from there, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”