Well here’s the one you’ve probably been waiting for, or one of them. Certainly no player generated more debate, or more jokes, than Brent Seabrook. We beat the drum of suckage all year, while other screamed just as passionately that we weren’t seeing his brilliance correctly. The truth is almost certainly in the middle (but leaned to our side ha ha ha). Let’s see if we can find it.
Regular Season: 82 games, 7 goals, 34 assists, 41 points, +23, 0.12 Behind The Net Rating, 16.17 Corsi per 60 (+6.2 Corsi Relative per 60)
Playoffs: 16 games, 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points, +0, -0.10 Behind The Net Rating, -2.01 Corsi per 60 (+1.1 Corsi Relative per 60)
What We Liked: Um… let’s see… um…. Anyway, seriously, Seabrook recovered toward the end of the year after a very rocky start to the season, and after a month off was ok in March and April. Decent on the power play (as it didn’t involve too much skating) as he has the biggest shot from the point and actually knew how to move along the blue line to get himself space, a lesson Duncan Keith has yet to grasp. 40 points from the blue line is hard to ignore, no matter how it came about. And… that’s it.
What We Didn’t Like: Buckle up. When looking at Seabrook merely on a sheet of paper, it’s hard to say that he had a bad year. The points, the plus-minus, the metrics, they all point to an effective player. But if you watched every game, you saw someone profiting greatly from the brilliance of his partner and the forwards ahead of him. Not only was Seabrook skating with the likely Norris winner, but he spent the most time behind Toews, Hossa, and Sharp. And they all covered for his sluggishness/laziness/nacho-ness. Regularly Seabrook just looked a half step behind the play, and that eventually reared its ugly head in the Conference Final when Seabrook was regularly caught watching as some King had all the time in the world in front. Seabrook also nearly put the Hawks to the sword with his moronic hit on David Backes, and was bailed out by Sheldon Brookbank playing some of the best hockey of his life in his absence. Seabrook looked this way for most of last year as well, and we wrote it off as not having played during the lockout and then crashed into an intense regular season. What’s the excuse this time around?
What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: A more interesting question than we ever thought it might be. There have been whispers, mostly from us admittedly, that Seabrook could be had in a trade. That’s still very unlikely, but you can see the reasons for it. The market for free agent defensemen is absolute garbage this summer, which means you could essentially name your price for Seabrook if he were made available. He’s still under 30 and for a top pairing d-man his contract isn’t unreasonable.
That said, I would be absolutely floored if the Hawks moved Seabrook, and Stan would have to be floored by an offer. So would Seabrook, who has a no-movement clause (as do most of the Hawks, it seems). It’s still much more likely that Oduya is the one who will go, and the Hawks will hope that Seabrook can recapture the form of ’10-’12 when he was almost certainly better than Keith. At age 29 it’s certainly feasible that Seabrook can find it again, as he shouldn’t be on the decline yet. But next year, he’ll probably get a good look at the first kid who could genuinely replace him one day in Stephen Johns. Maybe that will light a fire under his well-fed ass.