Editors note: a very happy belated birthday to Mr. Lancione!
The Chicago Blackhawks, less than three removed from ending their 50 year Stanley cup drought, still possess one of the league’s brightest young cores. Although this core includes established scoring threats in Jonathan ‘Captain Serious’ Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and blue line dynamo Duncan Keith, a rather underrated glue piece of the group, perhaps the most complete player of them all, may just be Brent Seabrook.
I’d argue he’s actually the most integral component of Chicago’s defensemen.
Seabrook, along with New York Rangers rearguard Dan Girardi, is the only defensemen in the NHL to place in the top 13 in blue-liner leaders for the following three categories: Blocked Shots, Hits & Takeaways. (Via Report Generator tool).
Keith may be the first one that comes to mind when the topic of conversation is the biggest blueline scoring threat in the Windy City, but Seabrook has also shown that his scoring touch rivals his teammate, evidenced by leading the team’s defensemen in scoring in 2011.
Despite spending more time putting his body on the line compared to Keith, tallying up countless more blocked shots, mucking it up along the boards, compiling hits, and engineering takeaways, Seabrook has still managed to keep pace with Keith offensively, on a PPM basis (Points per Minute). Check out the two-plus minutes per games less on ice Seabrook is afforded by Joel Quennville.
Need more evidence to uncover Seabrook’s immense value to the Hawks? Yes, Seabrook attained the status of highest +/- accumulated in 2011-2012 among Chicago defensemen.
While the Hawks have yet to return to the second round of Lord Stanley’s playoffs since their 2012 triumph despite valiantly fighting back from down 3-0 to force Game 7 against Vancouver in their title defense run, they are still young enough to cause more damage in the coming half-decade. Only Hossa has hit 30 years of age among their core players.
While the jury is still out on Corey Crawford’s effectiveness, it should be noted that his 2011-12 stats may have been a blip in the radar, as in his rookie season he posted very similar number to Niemi in the championship run the year prior. All the while, I expect Seabrook who just turned 27 this off-season and is really just entering his prime.
Seabrook has shown a remarkable sense of consistency in terms of production. As you can see by utilizing Frozen Pools’ Chart-a-Player Tool, Brent never really did have any inordinate peaks and valleys or simply any lulls in production, as his weeks #7 & #8 pointless periods in this chart are attributed to him being injured and out of the lineup.
All in all, regardless of what tinkering Stan Bowman will do, look for the Hawks to be a formidable team for years to come and with Brent Seabrook becoming an increasingly valuable component of that. His best years are ahead of him, with the massive jump in +/- last season just one sign of this. Notch him higher up on your draft list for next season folks.
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