It doesn’t take much searching to realize Brent Seabrook might be available in a trade. The Chicago Blackhawks are already over the salary cap for next season, and that only includes four D-men on the roster, and Seabrook’s contract expires next June.
The Hawks would like to sign him to an extension, but this is likely his final opportunity to land a lucrative long-term contract, and you could understand if he isn’t willing to take a discount to stay in Chicago, considering Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be making $13.8 million next year.
Many teams would love to acquire Seabrook. He is a proven top pairing defender. If you argue his possession numbers weren’t great last year with tough zone starts, then I think you might be ignoring the entire picture.
He knows how to win. He scores timely goals. He is physical. He is big and strong. He elevates his play in the playoffs and he’s won three Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal and a WJC gold medal. He plays his best in the most meaningful games and that is a winning quality.
I spoke to nine different NHL managers, coaches and scouts and every one of them said he is a top-30 defender.
The Oilers would have interest, but a source told me no actual trade talks have occurred. I was told they’d be interested if the Hawks decide to move him and have made that clear to the Blackhawks. Many teams are interested. The Bruins, Stars and Flyers would make a strong pitch for Seabrook.
Because he only has one year left on his contract, if I was the GM of a team close to acquiring him I’d ask for permission to talk with his agent about an extension before finalizing a trade. If the Hawks wouldn’t grant access, then my trade offer would be much lower. You don’t want to give up multiple top-level assets only to see Seabrook walk away in free agency.
Cost To Sign Him?
Seabrook will be 31 when his new contract kicks in, and I understand the trepidation to sign him to a seven or eight year deal. It is unlikely he will be as effective at 37 and 38 as he will be at 31-34 years of age.
The Oilers are in a decent cap situation. The only key player who might command big money in the next three seasons is Oscar KIefbom. He’s entering the final year of his contract, and I know the Oilers would like to sign him to an extension sooner than later.
Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are locked up for four, five and six years respectively at $6 mill/season. Darnell Nurse and Connor McDavid have three years before their next deal, and I think we can safely assume that McDavid will be getting a big raise for the start of the 2018/2019 season.
I’d offer Seabrook five years at $8million/season. I’d be willing to go as high as $9 million/season. I’d rather overpay him in cap hit for five years than have him on the books for $7 million/year when he is 36, 37 or 38.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why would Seabrook accept a five year deal instead of a longer term contract?
Valid question. He never would if the cap hit was the same and that is why I increased it. He could make $45 over five years instead of $49 over seven. He’d get his money sooner and he’d likely still sign another NHL contract, albeit at a much lower cap hit, but even if he signed a two-year deal worth $2 million/year he’d pocket the same amount.
I also believe it shows him the Oilers are serious about winning within the next five years. He’s seen first hand that you only have a short window to win with the same players, because eventually the salary cap becomes an issue.
Who Would you trade?
The Hawks can’t take much salary back. They would be looking for young players with good contracts, prospects and picks. The Oilers will not trade Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom or Leon Draisaitl for him. They’d want Seabrook to mentor the young D-men not replace one of them.
The biggest obstacle might be coming up with a better package than other teams. The Oilers don’t want to move those three youngsters, at least not for a 30-year-old, and they don’t have many other young players with much trade value. Brandon Davidson, Anton Slepyshev, Bodgan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira and Greg Chase would be considered the next tier of prospects within the organization.
Would Nail Yakupov and the 2016 first rounder (lottery protected) entice the Hawks? I’d make that trade. Might have to add more like a prospect, pick or Reinhart if Hawks want a more NHL-ready young D-man.
I was told the Blackhawks and Seabrook’s camp are scheduled to sit down to discuss an extension next week. The Hawks really like Seabrook and they value him on and off the ice, but as a high ranking agent told me yesterday, “This off-season has been very unpredictable. Players were traded that you wouldn’t expect and now the free agent signings have dried up. I sense teams are waiting for more trades and then we will see UFA’s signed as we get closer to camp. Teams still need to fill holes.”
Teams could be waiting to see what transpires from the talks between Seabrook and the Hawks.
- I was told the Oilers are not amongst the top-six teams interested in Cody Franson. They kicked tires, but other teams have shown more interest. Things can change, but as the season gets closer Franson’s demands or the offers from teams might become a better match. He will get signed. Boston and Dallas could really use him.
- I don’t comprehend why some think the OIlers need to trade Leon Draisaitl. He is their only skilled forward with size, not to mention he is the best pure passer of all their skilled players. He can pass accurately from either side of the ice. He will be a very useful asset in the future. Be patient.
- I don’t buy the argument the Oilers would be better off not trying to trade for Seabrook, because of his age and there will be good, or better, option in next summer’s UFA crop. Who? Mark Giordano is a year older than Seabrook and will command as much money. Dustin Byfuglien is the same age and is not nearly as poised in big games. Erik Johnson is three years younger, and the only option who fits better if age is your worry. If I can acquire Seabrook and sign him to a five-year extension, I’d do it. He and Sekera will be anchors for a few years and can mentor Nurse, Klefbom and the other young D-men.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Tracking Anders Nilsson
- Billy Moores Cup recap
- Monday Musings: Blaming Ben
- Meet Cam Talbot
- How much better is the defence?
- Oilers sign Sekera and Letestu
- Oilers trade Boyd Gordon