Among all the trade talk and waiver wire action, there are still players looking to get deals, both new and extensions these days, which brings us to Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks. Seabrook signed a 5-year contract extension on Sunday, which has been reported to be worth $29 million, which works out to a $5.8 million cap hit per season. Seabrook is in the final year of a 3-year deal, which he signed back in 2008, which has a cap hit of $3.5 million, so it is a significant increase for him going forward.
Seabrook has seen some significant improvements in his offensive numbers in the 2011 season, scoring at nearly twice the pace he has been in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, which only justifies the big pay increase all that much more. After Saturday's action, Seabrook ranked 180th in pool scoring (his previous high was 288th in 2010), with 4 goals and 29 assists in 61 games, putting him on pace for 44 points. He also ranks 22nd among defensemen in scoring this season, even leading teammate Duncan Keith in points thus far.
As for Chicago's salary cap situation for the 2012 season, it looks like it will be a matter of building around the core, where some savvy managing will have to take place. With Seabrook on board, the Blackhawks now have (by my estimation) six forwards and five defensemen on for $48 million. With the future cap number still up in the air, supposedly going up, this doesn't leave a great deal of room to sign seven forwards, two defensemen and two goalies. Even at the 2011 cap ($59.4 million), it would only leave $11.4 million for 11 players. How many depth players will Chicago be able to sign at a $1 million a head?
On an individual basis, I don't think this is a bad deal for Seabrook, because I think he is kind of underrated as a cornerstone defenseman, but now that he is getting paid like one, he should now have the focus put on him like he is one, despite having a guy like Keith on his team.
As for the team situation, I am a little surprised that GM Stan Bowman was not able to wrestle out some extra space from him, trying to buy into the team mentality, not having to deal with a major sell-off every year or wait for free agency to kick in before making more decisions going forward. I guess in this case, I'm a little disappointed in both sides, as market value could be very hard to swallow five years from now.