Why trading Seabrook would be no easy feat for Blackhawks

 
 
Updated 2/5/2019 7:11 PM
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  • If the Chicago Blackhawks were able to trade Brent Seabrook, how exactly would they pull it off? It wouldn't be easy, but John Dietz takes a look at a few scenarios that might make sense.

    If the Chicago Blackhawks were able to trade Brent Seabrook, how exactly would they pull it off? It wouldn't be easy, but John Dietz takes a look at a few scenarios that might make sense. Associated Press

Somebody's lying.

To be sure, that's an understandable reaction to the Saturday report that Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was asked if he'd be willing to waive his no-movement clause.

Either Seabrook wasn't being completely honest when he told the media, "I haven't been approached by anybody." Or somebody fed bad information to Elliotte Friedman, who broke the story on Hockey Night in Canada.

But the truth could very easily lie somewhere in-between.

The sports world we live in is very different from 30 years ago when beat reporters often broke news. Now, it's almost always national guys like Friedman. Sometimes, however, they might not get 100 percent of the story as the "leaker" hopes to get a team or player to react.

How much -- if any -- of this went on in this case is impossible to say, but Friedman stood by his reporting Monday despite Seabrook's denials. It is also possible that only Seabrook's agent was approached -- although Friedman insisted that player, agent and team were involved in the conversation. A call to Gerry Johannson, Seabrook's agent, was not returned.

The bigger picture

The bottom line is nobody would be surprised if the Hawks are attempting to move Seabrook's bloated contract, which runs for five more seasons and carries a $6.875 million cap hit.

Just thinking out loud with another writer Monday was enough to give us both headaches -- especially when we put ourselves in the position of another team's general manager.

What would it take for someone to agree to take on a soon-to-be 34-year old Seabrook?

In the recent past, GM Stan Bowman had to give Carolina Teuvo Teravainen to get rid of Bryan Bickell's contract; and he gave Arizona Vinnie Hinostroza and Jordan Oesterle to get rid of Marian Hossa's.

Once again, nobody is going to do Bowman any favors, so you have to assume any deal comes with the Hawks eating up to half of Seabrook's cap hit. Also remember that Seabrook can nix any deal, and his family seems awfully happy in Chicago.

But for the sake of argument, let's look at a few teams Seabrook may be willing to go.

• One might be the Vancouver Canucks. Seabrook is from Western Canada and could welcome the chance to help them retool in the post-Sedin era. Perhaps the Hawks throw in a promising young defenseman like Henri Jokiharju or Adam Boqvist, and/or an up-an-coming forward like Drake Caggiula or Dominik Kahun.

Vancouver tosses in a medium-level prospect or two, a draft pick or two and only asks the Hawks to pick up $2 million of Seabrook's contract … and perhaps you have a deal.

• Another option is to ask Seabrook if he'd be willing to play for Barry Trotz and the surprising first-place Islanders. New York desperately needs top-six scoring help, so Bowman throws in Brandon Saad and asks for forward Matt Martin and a first-round pick in return.

Seabrook would be a fantastic, steadying voice in New York's room in the playoffs and he could help a power play that ranks 26th in the league. Saad, meanwhile, would provide much-needed offense and is signed for two more seasons.

• The Eastern Conference is loaded with high-end speed, though, so perhaps a better fit is with Colorado. The Avs have loads of talent on their top line, but almost no depth scoring. That makes Saad a good fit here as well.

Alas, there are no easy answers as other GMs have their own cap issues. That certainly includes the Canucks, who must figure out what to do with RFAs Brock Boeser (50G, 45A in 110 games) and defenseman Ben Hutton, as well as UFA D-man Alexander Edler. The Avs, meanwhile, figure to open their checkbook to RFA Mikko Rantanen, who has 196 points in 207 games over the past 2.5 seasons. They also have $15.75 million tied up in three defensemen next season.

Both teams would likely tell Bowman that he needs to eat close to half of Seabrook's deal.

Another option is to buy out Seabrook's contract. If the Hawks chose to do so after next season, the cap hits would be as follows, according to capfriendly.com:

• $6.58 million in 2020-21 and 2022-23

• $3.58 million in 2021-22

• $5.08 million in 2023-24

• $708,333 from 2024-28

There's also a potential work stoppage coming in 2020-21. In an ideal world for Bowman, the NHL and NHLPA would make it much less painful to buy out a contract like Seabrook's.

Waiting that long is obviously a risk, but Bowman may not have many other options.

Until then, we can only wait and see what happens

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