Last Friday fellow Hockeybuzzer, Mark Paul continued his "Trade Partner" series for the Florida Panthers (a team he covers and follows closely). This specific article was examining the Chicago Blackhawks and the best trade options this offseason as it related to the Panthers.
Mark and I spoke at length and thought it would add great context to get my opinion from the Blackhawks perspective.
First, here are the details of Mark's blog:
Florida Panthers Trading Partners (Chicago Blackhawks)
Second Round Pick 2019
Chicago Retains 50% of Seabrook's salary
Third Round Pick 2019
Chicago Retains 30% of Seabrook's salary
Mark's conclusion was, at this price (or similar to), the Panthers should take a shot at Seabrook as he's not as bad as his declining baseline stats indicate.
Check out his article for the full argument for Seabrook.
My thoughts after watching Seabrook very closely his entire career is that the decline is real. Sure, some advanced stats show that he was more productive, however, there were good parts of the season when Brent was isolated away from top opposing talent.
His drop in goals and assist should not be a focus right now for the Hawks if he's to rebound next year. If he was to see a little more time on the power play (an area where he saw a drop in TOI like Mark points out), I trust those will go back up closer to his norm.
If I were the Hawks (or any team even thinking about trading for him), I would be a lot more concerned with this foot speed and overall defensive play.
Seabrook was never to fleetest of foot, but it's been evident these last couple of years that opposing forwards have targeted him when entering the zone and have done so with high success rates.
As Mark mentions, the Panthers are looking for a splash this summer. Right now, Florida's defence possesses a $22M cap hit with the following: Ekblad, Yandle, Matheson, Pysyk, McCoshen with Petrovic (RFA) and Weegar (RFA) needing deals.
Overall, they are in good shape with approximately $10M+ in cap space to make said splash but do they really want to take on Seabrook's $6.87M hit, even if it's at a discount.
Personally, I'm not even sure if he's better than the current top 4 in Florida. Ekblad, Pysyk and Petrovic are all RHDs, so it's not like they are dying for a righty to insert into the lineup.
Next, the whole salary retention; it's not "really" the Hawks "jam" to keep salary on any player. They would rather Bryan Bickell them (which included Teuvo Teravainen in a deal) than take a % of a deal they have to admit they were wrong on.
That's not to say that they would never do so, but it looks highly unlikely, even though that's probably the only way to get rid of Seabrook's contract. That, or trade his bad salary for another bad salary which Florida isn't really hindered with at this time.
Don't get me wrong, I like Mark's thinking and I like Seabrook… a lot… as a person and leader. However, as a player, that $6.87M for the next 6 years is going to be rough.
Before the Hawks think about eating salary and moving Brent out of town, they need to shore up their defence core or admit a rebuild is needed and continue to roll out a rotation consisting of an aging Duncan Keith, Gustafsson, Murphy, Rutta, Forsling, Oesterle, Jokiharju, etc.
To counter Mark's thinking of using these 2 teams as trading partners, realistically, I would like to see a bigger deal that includes current Panthers that could help the Hawks now like: Pysyk, Petrovic, Bjugstad, McGinn, Sceviour.
The history is there with Dale Tallon, and he and Bowman have made multiple deals in the past, but I don't see them as compatible trade partners at this time.
Shifting gears to those Rockford IceHogs – what a battle again last night. Luke Johnson tied it up with under 10 mins to go in the 3rd period and Victor Ejdsell wins it in OT.
Jeff Glass got the start last night and I would assume he gets the reigns again tonight to keep the ‘Hogs alive.
The game starts at 7pm CST tonight. Let's see how many lives the baby Hawks have in them.
See ya out there!