Is this the end for Seabrook? Blackhawks announce defenseman is out for the season
Eight days after he was a healthy scratch for the third time this season, the Blackhawks announced that Brent Seabrook will miss the rest of the 2019-20 campaign due to shoulder and hip injuries.
Also Thursday, the Hawks announced Calvin de Haan will undergo surgery on his right shoulder (he had surgery on the same surgery last offseason) and miss the rest of the season, and that Brandon Saad, injured in last week's game at Winnipeg, will miss approximately three weeks with a right ankle injury.
Seabrook will have surgery on his right shoulder Friday. He is then scheduled to have surgery on his right hip in early January and his left hip in early February.
The biggest questions that immediately come to mind are:
• Has Seabrook played his last game for the Hawks?
It's entirely possible, maybe even likely. Seabrook turns 35 in April and -- while his leadership skills are unquestionably fantastic -- he is not playing like a $6.875 million defenseman.
General Manager Stan Bowman could trade Seabrook (if he agrees to waive his no-movement clause), but that package would almost certainly have to include a high-end prospect or someone on the current roster. The Hawks would also likely be asked to retain part of Seabrook's salary.
Another option is to buy out Seabrook's contract. According to capfriendly.com, that would cost the Hawks $6.583 million against the cap next season and in 2022-23; $3.583 million in 2021-22; $5.083 million in 2023-24 and $708,333 from 2024-28.
One other possibility: Seabrook goes the route of Marian Hossa, and he stays on LTIR until his contract ends in 2024.
• Now, can the Hawks do anything to bolster the roster by putting Seabrook and de Haan ($4.55 million) on long-term injured reserve?
Theoretically, yes. But this isn't the same as 2015, when Bowman used cap relief from Patrick Kane's injury to acquire Antoine Vermette.
The only way Bowman makes such a move is if the Hawks (15-17-6) begin resembling a team that could make some noise in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Also, don't forget that acquiring high-priced veterans requires unloading prospects and/or draft picks.
And why would Bowman want to do that at this point?
As for Seabrook, his career statistics -- all with the team that drafted him 14th overall in 2003 -- are 103 goals, 361 assists in 1,114 games ... and 3 Stanley Cup championships.
An alternate captain since 2015-16, Seabrook is also perhaps the most vocal leader behind the scenes. Kane and Saad both spoke glowingly of their longtime teammate when news broke last February that Seabrook was asked to waive his no-movement clause.
"He's a great player and he's even a better leader," Saad said. "I know it's been (a couple of) tough years, but regardless, it's always fun coming to the rink knowing he's around. He just brings that personality and that energy.
"Some days it can be quiet around here, especially when we're not having success. But he's a guy that always brings that positive attitude and energy. He's a great guy to have on your team."