With the NHL paused do to the COVID-19 outbreak, it brings a glimmer of hope to injured players on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Could Brent Seabrook play for the Chicago Blackhawks again this season? Ask yourself that question again. It’s actually more possible than people might think. Seabrook is slated to be ready by the start of training camp, which is around late August 2020, but if the season is dragged out longer, Seabrook could fit right back in.
Since the Blackhawks didn’t spend his money, he’s welcome to come back and play. If he’s ready, he could make the jump back into hockey for Chicago.
“If a player has an injury that will prevent him from playing for at least 10 NHL games and 24 days in the NHL season, the team may place him on Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR), which can be used to exceed the salary cap.” (PuckPedia)
The most recent example of this is when Patrick Kane was injured in 2015, Chicago put him on the LTIR and added a few players with his cap space. When returning Game 1 of the playoffs, Kane had a new weapon in Brad Richards to play with.
Recently, Seabrook did give NBC Sports Chicago an update on his health.
“I am where I was two months ago,” Seabrook said. “Having three surgeries in five weeks isn’t ideal but I’m feeling great. We’re slow-moving right now, hoping I can start moving more and getting more things going.” (NBC Sports Chicago)
The only way I could see Seabrook back on the ice this season would be in the playoffs. As mentioned, the best chance the Blackhawks have of making the playoffs would be under an expanded playoff setting.
Seabrook sounds optimistic, and after three surgeries, chances are, he wouldn’t even play in the first round of the playoffs. If Chicago got deep in the expanded playoff setting, maybe Seabrook could make a return. They’d probably have to be as deep as the Western Conference Finals for him to return.
Could the Blackhawks even make it that deep? Who would they have to face to get there?
There are so many questions with unknown answers. We’re at a point where there might not even be a Stanley Cup award to any team this season. That stinks for teams up there at the top. As the Blackhawks have shown, you can be at the top one year, and at the bottom the next.
To finish up, I like Seabrook a lot. I’ve been tough on him for a few seasons, but I still think he has something left in the tank. Returning from three surgeries within a three-month span is crazy, even if it’s not before the start of the 2020-21 NHL Season.
I hope to see him back on the ice for the Blackhawks as soon as he’s healthy.