Blackhawks

Seabrook plays hero role for Blackhawks

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Seabrook plays hero role for Blackhawks

Brent Seabrook had the unenviable duty of going up against some of the Anaheim Ducks most potent offensive and physical threats on Tuesday night.

The Blackhawks defenseman was up to the task 29-plus minutes worth up to the task. He was hitting, he was blocking shots and he was part of a penalty kill that went 5-for-6, including 3-for-3 in the third period.

Killing penalties is always tough, Seabrook said. And against them, youve got skilled, big forwards who are good in front of the net, can make plays and have big shots. It was definitely something had to get done last night.

The Blackhawks did, and Seabrooks strong outing was a big help to that end. But whether its against the Ducks or another team, even strength or on the penalty kill, Seabrook has been one of the Blackhawks most consistent defensemen.

Last night he was physical, had a real good game, said coach Joel Quenneville, whos liked what hes seen from Seabrook as well as his defensive partner Niklas Hjalmarsson. Defending against those big guys as much as (Seabrook) did, thats a big nights work. When you have a guy like him playing against top lines, its tough on those guys knowing he can be physical and wearing. It can make for a long night.

It also made for a long night for Seabrook, as his 29:13 time on ice was his highest since March of 2008 and 7:16 of those were on the penalty kill. He had three blocked shots and now leads the team with 21. And against a Ducks team that loves to be physical, Seabrook had a team-high seven hits.

Im trying not to take myself out of the play to take a big hit, Im just playing the same way Ive always played, he said. Some games (the hits) come more than other games. Last night was sort of one of those games.

Seabrook is steady and not flashy on the ice. He doesnt always garner the headlines, but his game earns him plenty of respect.

In this room we appreciate what he brings to the team. Hes been around the long time and he brings a lot of leadership here, too, said former partner Duncan Keith. Everybody here knows his importance and certainly guys around the league know hes a big strong guy and tough to play against.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Predicting who Blackhawks will take at No. 3 overall

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AP

Hawks Talk Podcast: Predicting who Blackhawks will take at No. 3 overall

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Slavko Bekovic and Charlie Roumeliotis react to the Olli Maatta trade and how this impacts the Blackhawks' defensive group. Is this the first of more moves to come?

The guys then break down their top-three candidates for the Blackhawks at No. 3 overall and predict who the pick will be on Friday. They also discuss how the Blackhawks' selection may impact the offseason and the big picture going forward.

0:40 – Initial reaction to the Olli Maatta trade

3:45 – How Maatta fits with the Blackhawks

7:45 – Filling Dominik Kahun’s spot

10:00 – Maatta’s contract situation

11:00 – Our top-3 draft predictions

18:30 – Official predictions on who the Blackhawks will pick

24:30 – Is there a wrong pick in the top 10?

27:30 – If the Blackhawks don’t pick D, the forward is…?

29:30 – How the Blackhawks selections shape the offseason

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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How Erik Karlsson’s extension with Sharks impacts Blackhawks, Western Conference

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USA TODAY

How Erik Karlsson’s extension with Sharks impacts Blackhawks, Western Conference

The 2019 NHL free agent class — both restricted and unrestricted — is absolutely loaded. But perhaps the biggest fish of them all has already been taken off the board.

Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks have agreed to an eight-year extension worth $11.5 million per year, according to Cap Friendly, becoming the highest-paid defenseman in league history. It’s a significant move for the Sharks, who are looking to keep the band together and take a few more stabs at a Stanley Cup before their window starts to close — Joe Thornton is 39, Joe Pavelski turns 35 in July, Brent Burns is 34, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is 32 and Logan Couture is 30.

How the Sharks make the math work going forward will be fascinating to monitor. Thornton, if he doesn't decide to hang up the skates, is a UFA. Same with Pavelski, who is coming off one of the most productive seasons of his career. Both of those players have become part of the Sharks identity, but their futures aren't guaranteed. And then there are guys like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier, both of whom are RFAs and due big raises.

So how does the Karlsson extension impact the Blackhawks and the rest of the Western Conference?

For starters, the UFA defensemen class just got thinner and that could lead to overpayment across the board from teams looking for impact-type blue-liners because general managers that are looking to make a splash don’t want to come away empty-handed. The Blackhawks were never going to be in on Karlsson, but his contract set the market for this year's class and the fact the signing came before the NHL Draft now gives teams that would've been in on Karlsson an opportunity to refocus ahead of the negotiating period.

In the bigger picture, the Sharks just solidified themselves as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders for at least the next couple seasons. While the Karlsson contract may not look the greatest on the back half, given his durability issues, the Sharks had no choice but to offer him a blank check. When healthy, he is a game-changer and a two-time Norris Trophy winner who's still in his prime, and if the Sharks win a title in the next couple years then it was well worth it. You don't let players like him walk.

The Blackhawks are expected to be aggressive over the next several weeks, particularly in free agency but also continuing to explore the trade market. We already saw that when they acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins, a move that could only be the first of many this offseason. The West might be top heavy, but this past season proved that any team can turn it around quickly and the Blackhawks need to do everything in their power to make sure they're one of those teams.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.