Sunday, 27 September 2015

Getting Paid

What do three Stanley Cups, a ten-year career with the same team, one of the quietest leadership roles in the game, and being an all-star at your position get you? A pay day, folks, and Chicago's Brent Seabrook went and got paid yesterday with his new eight-year, $54.8 million deal that is lockout-protected in case of another work stoppage. The new deal will kick in next season after his current deal expires, and the Blackhawks will be on the hook for $6.85 million annually for Seabrook's work that will keep him in Chicago colours until he turns 39 barring any unforeseen trades.

There is no doubt that Seabrook was a major factor in the three Stanley Cup runs that the Blackhawks have made, and perhaps this deal was about paying Seabrook what he may have been owed on his last deal which was five years for $29 million. That total isn't exactly chump change in itself, but Seabrook made the best of what was offered.

However, in watching Brandon Saad force a trade because the Blackhawks weren't willing to meet his demands despite him offering the prime years of his career only to turn around and pay Seabrook a small fortune for eight years seems counter-intuitive. Worse yet, the two contracts for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane seriously handcuff the Blackhawks already, and now we'll add on another $7 million for Seabrook! We haven't even mentioned the $5.5 million-and-change for Duncan Keith and the $5.275 million for Marian Hossa for the next four seasons past this one. Artem Anisimov will also get $4.55 million, and Corey Crawford is on the hook for $6 million through 2020. All totaled? Seven players will cost the Blackhawks just over $49 million through to new decade.

You wonder if GM Stan Bowman is looking at ages. You wonder how the Blackhawks, who have $71,093,462 tied up in salary as per, give that raise to Marcus Kruger who took less money to stay with the Blackhawks this season. You wonder how they can re-sign a player like Viktor Tikhonov if he has a good season. You wonder what a player like Andrew Shaw will cost Chicago when he becomes an RFA in 2016-17. The Blackhawks, who have yet to play a game this season, already have $66,620,128 committed to 17 players for next season.

There's no denying that Seabrook will be a factor for the Blackhawks for the next few seasons. He doesn't skate as well as when he broke into the league, but his vision and first pass are second-to-none when it comes to moving the puck and he's reliable for head coach Joel Quenneville. He'll always play second fiddle to Duncan Keith's offensive numbers, but Seabrook will be out there every second shift in crunch time for the Blackhawks.

There is going to be some creative accounting in the front offices on Madison Avenue for the next few years as they work through these monster contracts that Stan Bowman is handing out to the core players. There will still be tough decision in the coming years for the Blackhawks to make due to these massive deals, but the core players are locked up tight through to whenever the next work stoppage happens and further.

The nice part is that Seabrook still gets paid whether he's locked out or not. Cap or no cap.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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