In the last article, I looked at Brent Seabrook‘s career from draft day in 2003 through the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup dynasty years. This article will be taking a dive into his play after the dynasty was over. It will look at where Brent Seabrook and his career started taking a huge step backwards.
Looking Back and Ahead at Brent Seabrook and his Career with the Chicago Blackhawks
After the Dynasty
2015-2018 were successful seasons for the Blackhawks in their own right. Rookie sensation and instant fan favourite Artemi Panarin broke out and won the Calder Trophy his rookie season, Corey Crawford continued to dominate in between the pipes, and the team extended their playoff streak by two more seasons. For Brent Seabrook, however, things weren’t looking so great. Did he have two 35-plus point seasons? Yes, yes he did. That means nothing as a defenceman, however, as there are more responsibilities besides scoring points. Between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons he gave away 248 pucks and still played over 20 minutes a night. Again, the eye test seemed fine but the truth was shrouded by his defence partner, Duncan Keith.
Reality seemed to catch up faster during the 2017-18 season. His worst year in terms of point production since the 2008-09 seasons, his first sub-100 hit season and his fourth consecutive negative relative Corsi season. Take into consideration the horrible contract he now holds the Blackhawks captive with, and the perception of his value quickly changed. He saw the first of a few healthy scratches that season, which eluded to his poor on-ice play.
After coach Joel Quenneville was fired early in the 2018-19 season, the likelihood of Seabrook drawing into favour of Jeremy Colliton became slim. He lost a bit of ice-time this season and continued to take too many offensive liberties from the blue line. The rest of the season went by and, despite the team making a playoff push, they fell short for the second season in a row.
Brent Seabrook’s Final Season
Aside from being an extremely bad season for the NHL, and all of sports, it was especially bad for Brent Seabrook. He was still sitting comfortably in the Blackhawks’ top-four going into the season thanks to an inexperienced group of players slotting into the lineup for Chicago last season. His season was cut short, however, due to a shoulder injury he endured during the early parts of the winter. He went to get surgery on his shoulder in late December to repair himself and hopefully be back in time for this season, but that day never came.
Despite being 35 and could likely have played two more full seasons, his departure from the game is not a surprise. He had old man injuries and an older player to the game. He left the game with a respectable career behind him and something he should be proud of for completing. There was some hope that he would be able to return this season, but that never amounted to anything more than skating in practice.
What Lies Ahead for Brent Seabrook
Seabrook still has a few years remaining on his monster contract. The Blackhawks will hold this contract on their LTIR to save valuable cap space for the seasons ahead. Many analysts around the league have suggested he would be a great asset to a team’s, likely Chicago, front office in the future given his experience and personability.
At the end of the day despite the injuries and the surgeries, despite the massive defensive downturn he took in the latter years of his career, Brent Seabrook will certainly go down as one of the greatest Blackhawks, and NHLers, to ever lace them up.
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