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Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook Deal Exemplifies Roster And Negotiation Issues

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SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 31: Brent Seabrook
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 31: Brent Seabrook /
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CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 01: Brent Seabrook
CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 01: Brent Seabrook /

The stats

Seabrook was able to produce a 52.8 percent Corsi-for the year before signing his eight-year extension. A solid number, this tied Seabrook at 44th in the league among defensemen who played 50 or more games that year.

But underneath this, Seabrook’s relative Corsi-for was a negative 1.7 percent (119th among defensemen playing 50 games). If you are not familiar with relative Corsi-for, it is a way to estimate a player’s Corsi compared to that of his teammates, trying to even out the playing field for good players on bad teams or bad players on good teams.

Seabrook’s 2014-15 rating indicates that over the course of 60 even-strength minutes of him on ice and 60 minutes off ice, the ‘Hawks had 1.7 more shots coming at Corey Crawford than at the opposing goalie with Seabrook in the game.

The two years before 2014-15, Seabrook had a 0 percent and a negative 4.9 percent relative Corsi. While Seabrook’s Corsi-for was still positive at 56.9 and 52 percent, there was still some evidence that Seabrook may be benefitting from having great teammates all around him.

He also had 173 giveaways in the three previous seasons leading up to the deal with only 77 takeaways. Defensemen are going to have more giveaways than takeaways, as is the nature of the position, but 32 more a year on average is a pretty high number.

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This is not to say Seabrook had no benefit to the team. Seabrook had played in all but one game from 2013 to the end of 2015. He totaled 69 points, averaged just over 22 minutes on ice a night and was a plus-32. He averaged 0.48 points per game in 123 playoff games and averaged 24:52 of ice time in the postseason.

There were clearly positives to be seen from his game, but most Blackhawks fans that watched him play night-in and night-out started to see that his play was starting to decline slightly, and that he was a little less reliable than previously.

The deal being given to Seabrook was saying that he should be paid as a top-10 defenseman for eight more seasons. The numbers were saying that the near-30-year-old may not actually deserve that big of a contract, especially if his play was declining.

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