A current player is next on our Chicago Blackhawks top 100 countdown, as veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook makes his presence felt
It’s kind of crazy to think Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was around for the end of the true dark days of Chicago hockey as well as the team’s three championships in six years. But the No. 44 entry on our Blackhawks top 100 countdown can lay that claim to fame.
Seabrook was drafted 14th overall by the Blackhawks in 2003. After finishing up a five-year stint with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, Seabrook jumped right to the NHL level. He played in 69 games for a Blackhawks team that finished with 65 points, third-fewest in the league.
Seabrook contributed 32 points in his rookie year, though, earning him 13th place in the Calder Trophy voting for top rookie. The Blackhawks were still pretty bad in 2006-07, which saw Seabrook have somewhat of a sophomore slump in tallying 24 points and 104 penalty minutes across 81 games.
Rising with the team
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But Seabrook started to find himself as the Blackhawks began their rise from the depths of the NHL. He had received important playing time with 2002 draftee Duncan Keith on the back end, and the two started to become a potent combo as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were cracking the league.
Seabrook netted 32 points in 82 games during the 2007-08 campaign, when the Blackhawks missed the playoffs by three points. Things started to turn in Chicago after that season, and Seabrook was consistently a key piece of the team’s success.
Beyond the 2013 lockout-shortened season, Seabrook has not played fewer than 78 regular-season games since his rookie year. In his 12 seasons with the Blackhawks, Seabrook boasts 406 points across 923 regular-season games and another 59 points in 123 postseason games.
Seabrook has become known as a major leader in Chicago’s locker room and as a guy who comes up with clutch performances in the postseason. Two of his “best hits” come from the playoffs, in the form of a goal and some words of advice — and they were in the same series.
The first is an NBC Sports panel discussion on Seabrook getting in the ear of Toews after Chicago’s captain had strung together three straight minor penalties in Game 4 of a 2013 Western Conference semifinal series against Detroit.
Though Chicago lost that game, Toews was seemingly sparked and the Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 series deficit to outlast the Wings. That series was ended when Seabrook tallied an overtime winner in Game 7, shown in the second video.
Seabrook’s last couple seasons have been disappointing, but that doesn’t overshadow how critical he was to the revival of hockey in Chicago. He was a key part of three championships, and he continues to be a solid veteran presence on for the Blackhawks.
Check back in tomorrow as we highlight entry No. 43 on this top 100 Blackhawks countdown.