The Blackhawks paid an injured Brent Seabrook 6.875 million dollars since 2015, though he wasn’t the best defenseman, he was still useful.
The Chicago Blackhawks were crushed by the salary cap for a while, and most fans pointed to Brent Seabrook‘s contract as the main “thorn in their side”. Why? He wasn’t exactly the best defenseman on the team, but he was paid like he was still a top-two defenseman. At the end of his career, he was still a top-six defenseman, he just wasn’t appreciated because of his drop off.
Yes, 6.875 million in a salary cap era commands a superstar-like play or, at the very least, above-average production. Brent Seabrook ended his last year with four points, a +1, and 18:09 TOI in 32 games played. It doesn’t warrant a 6.875 million dollar contract, but he was still effective for the team.
Now, let’s compare this contract to that of Sergei Bobrovsky, who is earning 10 million dollars per year with the Florida Panthers. For six more years. Bobrovsky was able to steal a series for the Columbus Blue Jackets, where the team swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in a huge upset. He then proceeded to earn a ludicrous contract of 10 million dollars, placing him just 500K behind superstars Patrick Kane and Carey Price.
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He takes up 12.3% of the Panther’s salary cap, something that will haunt the team for a while. Why? Spencer Knight’s contract expires in 2023-24, and Bobrovsky will be signed until 2026. On top of this, the Panthers will have to pay their young stars in Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau that same year. Bobrovsky is not a serviceable goaltender anymore, as Knight took over his spot in the playoffs, and will be the starter for next season.
This contract is going nowhere, the only way to get rid of this is buying Bobrovsky out. Seabrook’s contract, though not easy to move, is much easier to get rid of without losing a first-round pick. The 10 million dollar player could not do anything for the team as they used Chris Driedger more often in the regular season. Seabrook was still on the ice and was still useful, Bobrovsky, being a goaltender, wasn’t and he earns much more than Seabrook did.
The Blackhawks have a ton of cap space right now, and they are positioned to be able to retain all of their promising young players such as Brandon Hagel, Philipp Kurashev, and Pius Suter while still having the funds to re-sign their potential superstar in Kirby Dach. Though the contract isn’t the best thing ever, it isn’t as debilitating as the Panthers’ situation.
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In conclusion, Brent Seabrook’s contract wasn’t a good signing, but it wasn’t the worst. There is also enough room for the Blackhawks to get rid of the contract without giving up a first-round pick. Seabrook was also still serviceable to the team while Bobrovsky was benched.