Summer Assignment: Brent Seabrook’s 2013 Report Card
Game Winning Goals: 1
Game Winning Goals: 2
Contract Status: Signed through the 2015-2016 season with a cap hit of $5.800,000 in 2013-14.
Summary: Brent Seabrook has always been the Chicago Blackhawks most consistent defenseman. He showed more of the same in 2013, but quickly showed that he was among the premier blue-liners in the NHL.
Seabrook played a focused, physical style of play, something the skilled, speedy Blackhawks needed to toughen up their roster. Seabrook delivered big hits along the boards, but still never found himself out of position, and was always back in time to shut down the opponents’ top scorers. Defensively, Seabrook was a killer, stifling many of the league’s craftiest and most skilled forwards, thanks to a combination of good positioning, and strength in front of the net. When the Blackhawks’ defense got the puck back, Seabrook was an expert at jump-starting the offense. He could use his strength to skate through the neutral zone, and dish a pass to the forwards to do the rest. When the Blackhawks got set up in the zone, Seabrook was a great option for a pass, as his cannon of a shot was very effective at generating traffic in front of the net. Seabrook notched one game winner during the regular season with one of those said shots, in an overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In the playoffs, Seabrook reached yet another level, just as he did in the 2010 Cup run. He showed more of the physical play in the first-round series against Minnesota, helping take care of the pesky Wild in five games. His physical play was also a factor in the semi-final series against the Detroit Red Wings, making it incredibly hard for the aging Wings’ offense to generate anything in the zone.
However, his biggest moment in the series was one of the last. When Game Seven went to overtime after a called-back Blackhawks goal, Seabrook was there, picking up a Dave Bolland pass on the rush, and ripping a slap-shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, sending the Blackhawks into the Western Conference Final. Seabrook became the fourth defenseman in NHL history to score a Game Seven overtime goal, joining such company as Bobby Orr and his signature goal.
Seabrook was paired with Duncan Keith for the remainder of the playoffs, and together they remade the shutdown pair that was so special four years ago. They took care of everything defensively against the L.A. Kings, taking care of the defending Cup champions in 5 games. Duncan Keith wasn’t in the Hawks lineup in the pivotal Game Five, so Seabrook led the way defensively, playing 34:40 in the 2OT win.
It didn’t get any easier in the finals, as Seabrook eclipsed that TOI mark in Game One, playing 39:12 in the Blackhawks’ triple overtime thriller. Seabrook wasn’t done there, scoring his second OT winner in the playoffs, evening up the series at 2 in Game Four. Seabrook played more of his signature games in the two remaining contests, as the Blackhawks took their fifth Stanley Cup in Franchise History.
Grade: Seabrook had another consistent campaign for the Blackhawks, and thanks to his timely overtime winners, his grade is an A.
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