Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Posted 1:54 a.m. Updated 4:11 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
Brent Seabrook has been a vital part of the Chicago Blackhawks success to this point. Now it appears hes set to be part of it moving forward, too.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday afternoon the Blackhawks are getting close to signing Seabrook to an extension. TSN, citing sources, reported early Saturday that the Blackhawks are close to signing Seabrook to a five-year extension for around 30 million. Bowman wouldnt comment specifically on details of the deal, other to say that he figures the deal will be done soon.
WATCH: Bowman optimistic with Seabrook; trade coming?
Its not completely done yet, but were getting close, Bowman said. Weve been working on it a long time and sometimes these deals take a while to get done. (Seabrook) is a big part of our group we have here. Hes been instrumental at getting us to the point were at and hell be instrumental at keeping us at this level.
Seabrook has four goals and 29 assists in 61 games this season. He averages 24 minutes, 25 seconds of ice time per game, second-highest on the team.
The 25-year-old Seabrook, who wouldve been a restricted free agent at seasons end, is making 3.5 million this season. Seabrook has gone about his business on the ice but said the contract situation has been on his mind.
Ive tried to just put it out of my mind but it is something Ive thought about, he said following Saturdays practice. Its one of those things that Im going to be very happy when its over.
Once Seabrooks deal is finalized, it locks up another key member of the Blackhawks defense. Bowman said that was important.
Defense is the key that makes everything go for us, he said. We have a lot of skilled forwards and were depending on having mobile, puck-moving defensemen. If you look around, the teams in the league that dont have a strong defense dont do very well.
Coach Joel Quenneville said its important to have Seabrook going forward.
Hes a big part of the team, Quennville said. Hes got great leadership qualities, plays good quality minutes and gives us a physical presence. That pair (Seabrook and Duncan Keith) was really instrumental in us winning the Cup. Hes part of that mix and itd be nice for him to be here a long time.
WATCH: Blackhawks are a destination team
"Hopefully that happens," team president John McDonough said. "It's a statement that a top-tier player wants to stay in Chicago and play for the Blackhawks. We try to keep that core together and the core is expanding. As that continues, we realize Chicago and the Blackhawks have become a real good destination."
Leddy here to stay
Nick Leddys days of doing the Rockford shuffle are over this season, Stan Bowman said Saturday. For Leddy, whos recently been paired with Duncan Keith, its a chance to keep developing with the Blackhawks on a daily basis.
Now hes up here for a regular basis itll be good for him. But you have to appreciate how quickly hes absorbed quality and quantity minutes and he seems to be comfortable no matter whos on the ice, Quenneville said. His imagination and patience level with the puck is high end. Hes very poised and he can only keep getting better off these levels.
Boynton to Flyers
Nick Boynton, who the Blackhawks placed on waivers on Friday, was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The move gives the Blackhawks some flexibility with the cap and roster.
Boyntons last game with the Blackhawks was Feb. 7 in Calgary. Hed been a healthy scratch since, replaced by Jordan Hendry.
I think Nicks been OK this year. He did a good job for us last year, especially coming into the finals the way he did, coach Joel Quenneville said. Weve gotten a look at Hendry and I think hes coming off his best game the other night. He had some quickness in his game.
Niklas Hjalmarsson did not practice on Saturday. Quenneville said it was a maintenance day and that the defenseman will play Sunday night against Phoenix.
Corey Crawford will get the start Sunday against the Coyotes.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.