The Chicago Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup final again, and Brent Seabrook along with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Niklas Hjalmarsson will be vying for their third Stanley Cup.
Bryan Bickell played sixteen regular season games and four in the playoffs (in the 2010 season), but that wasn’t enough to get his name on the Cup. You either have to play 41 regular season games or one game in the Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL does make exceptions for players who didn’t meet the standard due to injury or other extenuating circumstances.
Seabrook has been a significant contributor during the Hawks magical seven-year playoff run, but rumours about him being traded due to the Hawks pending salary cap issues keep swirling.
They have just over $63 million already committed to 13 players for next season. GM Stan Bowman needs to fill out the remaining ten roster spots by only spending $8 million. That won’t happen.
Everyone around the NHL knows the Blackhawks will need to dump some big contracts.
Sharp turns 34 in December and has two years left with a $5.9 million cap hit.
Seabrook turned 30 in April and has one year remaining with a $5.8 million cap hit.
Bickell is 29 and has two years left with a $4 million cap hit.
Corey Crawford carries a $6 million cap hit for five more seasons, and he turns 31 in December.
Seabrook is the most valuable of the four. He is a legit #1 defender. He can play any situation and is solid offensively and defensively. The concern with Seabrook is what he will want on his next contract. Will he take a home town “discount” to stay with the Blackhawks? If he wants to keep winning, he will strongly consider it. Would he accept an eight-year, $48 million deal from the Hawks?
Two different sources told me if he leaves the Hawks, he and and his agent will be looking for a seven or eight year (if he gets traded before next summer) contract close to $8 million/year. That means he’d be 31 years of age when he new contract kicks in, and the main question is how many more elite years will he have left?
Will he be a top-pair defender when he is 35? If he isn’t, then his cap hit will not match his on-ice return.
That is the dilemma the Oilers face. My sources told me that Seabrook would have no problem coming to Edmonton. The Oilers are a much more attractive location now with Bob Nicholson, Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan running the hockey operations as well as a roster filled with young skilled players.
If the Oilers trade for Seabrook, they will do so with the intention of signing him to long-term deal. I believe Seabrook is a heck of a player, but how good will he be in three or four years when the Oilers will be a legitimate contender? Will he still be as dominant as he is today?
History says no, and that is the concern with signing older players to long-term deals. You are paying them for what they have accomplished, not what they will achieve during their new contract.
I understand the need to acquire a top-pairing defender, but I believe it makes more sense to try and find one who is 25-27 and will still be at the top of their game in three or four years when the Oilers could be a legitimate contender.
Maybe the Oilers can be a legit contender sooner than that, but if I’m looking at their progress rationally, I don’t see that being realistic.
Seabrook would be a wonderful addition to the Oilers, but I’m skeptical that his age and contractual demands would be the right fit for the Oilers in three or four seasons.
Would you trade for Seabrook if it meant you had to sign him to a seven or eight year extension at $7 million/year or more?
- If I’m Bowman, I’m trading Sharp and Bickell well before Seabrook. The Hawks have a lot of young skilled wingers in the system or already playing. They have Teuvo Teravainen, Artem Panarin and more. They will probably lose Johnny Oduya to unrestricted free agency, and I doubt Bowman moves Seabrook and loses half of his top-four defenders. The Hawks can barely ice a competent third pair right now, if they lose Oduya and Seabrook their backend will struggle. I think Seabrook stays, unless he refuses to take a hometown discount.
- The Cup Finals should be great. The Lightning and Hawks are loaded with skill and both play an aggressive, uptempo game. I will take the Hawks, because they are getting more production from their bottom-two lines. The Lightning bottom six forwards have produced a meagre four goals and nine points, while the Hawks bottom six has scored 12 goals and 32 points. Depth wins.
- The Edmonton Rush picked a perfect night to host game two of the Champions Cup. The NBA and NHL finals are not playing and the Women’s World Cup of Soccer begins on Saturday. The Rush can win their first NLL championship Friday night on their home floor. They should have their biggest crowd of the season, and if you can’t go you can watch the game live on TSN1.
- With the Blackhawks back in the Cup final the term “Dynasty” will be discussed often. The Hawks need to win before anyone should even consider using it, but for me a true Dynasty must at least win consecutive championships. Can you name any team in any league who is widely regarded as a Dynasty, but never won back-to-back? That is a main criteria for me. What about you?
ULTIMATE SPORTS FAN PACKAGE…
the fifth consecutive year we are doing our Ultimate Sports Fan
package in support of charity. On June 13th and 14th I am riding in the 190km
MS Bike Tour, and I’ve come up with a pretty good package for the
diehard sports fan.
How it works is you make a $100 donation and you get 1 entry. If you make a $200 donation you get two entries and so on.
We only take 100 entries and we will raise $10,000 for MS. The draw will be Friday, June 12th.
This year’s winner will win the following prizes and more.: The final package is valued at $5,000.00
- The “Oilers experience” at the Oilers home opener, which includes tickets, parking, dinner and a behind the scenes tour.
- A pair of Edmonton Eskimos season tickets in the lower bowl.
- A signed, game used Jordan Eberle stick.
- 20 tickets any Oil Kings game. Also, you will get an Oil King player of your choice to
come to your backyard rink or minor hockey practice for an hour. (Between November 1st and December 15th.)
- Ten tickets to the Rugby Canada Super Series on Sunday, July 5th at Ellerslie Park. USA plays New Zealand at 4 p.m. and Canada battles England at 6 p.m.
- I will be adding a few more prizes involving food, golf and more sporting events in the coming days.
Keep in mind this sold out in two weeks last year, so if you want a chance to win and help end MS get in the draw today.
You can make your donation here. (click Donate Now beside my picture). Thank you and good luck.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Part two, if you will, with Taylor Hall
- Chiarelli and RFAs
- Building a winner: Babcock and Hendricks
- Chiarelli’s thoughts on Nurse
- McLellan: Coaching is communication
- Tuesday Musings: McLellan, Hall and more
- Klefbom contract: Sign him.