Time to weigh in on another debate raging in Blackhawk Nation since last year: what's the deal with Brent Seabrook?
Late yesterday, a Hawk beat reporter posted a tweet, wherein Joel Quenneville responded to his question surrounding a possible platoon of Seabrook with Connor Murphy and Cody Franson (who are already platooning).
140 characters didn't permit any logical context for the suggestion, so maybe it was because . . . "Seabrook now sucks," or so the mantra goes through much of the Hawk Web-O-Sphere.
Funny thing about hockey message boards and social media—narratives seem to form through osmosis and gain momentum through inertia.
There was a time when, "ya know, Butch and Sundance," Seabrook and Duncan Keith were kind of seen as co-equals coming up in their Hawk careers—say, before 2010.
Over time, that changed, Estimations of Seabrook's ability sort of slid back—as they should have, while Keith went on to win 2 Norris Trophies and a Conn Smythe.
All that said, the now 32 year old Seabrook was there for, and played an integral role in, 3 Stanley Cups, the last of which where he, Keith, Johnny Oduya and Nik Hjalmarsson carried the team through four grueling rounds with Michal Rozsival, a throughly done Kimmo Timonen, David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey as their depth.
Yeah, you can make the argument that Seabrook has some hard miles on his body and has maybe lost a half a step. I won't argue that.
But the fancy stats (taken out of context) argument that Seabrook's game has "fallen off a cliff," doesn't seem to pass the eye test. At least not yet. More on that in a second.
I reported here back in June that the Hawks had very quietly proposed a deal with Vancouver, where Seabrook and Gustav Forsling would move west to Seabrook's hometown for Chris Tanev. Never really went anywhere.
So my strong belief is, the Hawks would like to eventually move Seabrook's deal—which is expensive with a lot of term.
But that doesn't mean the wheels are off, Seabrook blows, get out the torches and pitchforks, either.
My opinion here, Brent Seabrook is still a solid top 4 defenseman in the National Hockey League, and likely will be for a couple more years.
Fact, the fancy stats that deem Seabrook's game "off the cliff," may not be fully accounting for his playing a great deal of the last two years with a now minor league defenseman named Viktor Svedberg, and a rookie last year in Michal Kempny. Not to mention, the quality of the forwards they faced.
I mean those Hawk teams still had third pairing guys Trevor van Riemsdyk and Rozsival—and a completely unready Gustav Forsling and a still injured Johnny Oduya for smaller parts of last season.
So Seabrook and Kempny, and before that Seabrook and Svedberg, if you just do the math, were not really sheltered, playing mostly against second and third lines in all likelihood. It also says something at least that Joel Quenneville asked Seabrook, and not his other top RD, Hjalmarsson, to serve as babysitter.
So Quenneville's assessment, enumerated in the tweet last night, of Seabrook thus far this year:
"Seabs has been fine."
Sure, Q will skew toward favoring veteran players. But Seabrook is not Rozsival. He's also not Murphy, much less a camp PTO with serious mobility limitations.
My belief is, we will see the return of the compliance buyout with a new CBA—and at that point, the Hawks will probably send Seabrook off into the sunset. Until then, call me old and crusty, but it seems all the consternation over Seabrook and his deal (when the Hawks have cap room for once) is overblown.
And while some clamor for using the newly minted cap space to "go out and get a top 4 defenseman," what GM keeps his job after trading a defenseman the equal or better of Seabrook for, say, Tanner Kero, a draft pick and a box of tape?
So, what else ya got?
Be glad, for now, you have Brent Seabrook. And focus elsewhere.
I'll preview the Blues tomorrow, check out the Shoutcast posting tonight or tomorrow AM where gatekeeper and I interview Craig Custance on his new book, and just talk more hockey.