Sources: Hawks, Seabrook close to extension

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Sources: Hawks, Seabrook close to extension

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Posted 1:54 a.m. Updated 4:11 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

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.

Briefly

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.

Saad Day: Blackhawks deal Artemi Panarin for familiar face

Saad Day: Blackhawks deal Artemi Panarin for familiar face

When the Blackhawks found Artemi Panarin, they found a talent who was NHL ready from the start, who found instant chemistry with Patrick Kane and earned a Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. It was also a tremendous panacea for a team that couldn’t pull off a deal to keep Brandon Saad, who was the power forward that fit in beautifully in the Blackhawks’ top six.

On Friday, the Blackhawks brought Saad back and dealt Panarin to do it.   

Saad returns to the Blackhawks, who also acquire goaltender Anton Forsberg, in exchange for Panarin and Tyler Motte. The Blackhawks also get the Blue Jackets’ fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft and the Columbus gets Chicago’s sixth-round pick from this weekend’s draft. Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the deal. The Blackhawks inherit Saad’s deal, which has four years remaining at a $6 million cap hit. Panarin was about to enter his current deal, which is two years with a $6 million cap hit. This is key for the immediate future; when Panarin’s latest deal is up, if he keeps up at his current pace, he’ll likely sign for a lot more.

[MORE: Blackhawks deal Hjalmarsson to Arizona]

The Blackhawks have missed Saad terribly since his departure. The team has struggled to find consistent line mates with Jonathan Toews, especially at that left-wing position. They did fairly well with Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik flanking Toews this season but it wasn’t as strong as the Saad-Toews combination. So it looks like the Blackhawks’ top line will be solidified again.

Now, what about the second line? As good as Toews and Saad’s chemistry was, Panarin’s and Kane’s was dynamite. The two had their respective skill, which they flashed often, and their ability to read each other was evident from the start. The Blackhawks’ second line was as consistent and steady the past two seasons as the top line was during Saad’s time here.

So, there are changes. The Blackhawks will absolutely miss what Panarin brings. But as far as bringing back a former Blackhawks player who could help in the present, getting the 24-year-old Saad back will be very beneficial. 

Blackhawks pull off stunner, trade Niklas Hjalmarsson to Coyotes

Blackhawks pull off stunner, trade Niklas Hjalmarsson to Coyotes

Niklas Hjalmarsson has been part of the Blackhawks’ renaissance since the rebuild began in the mid-2000s, a longtime steady presence on the blue line who has had some clutch moments in the Blackhawks’ three Stanley Cup runs. But on Friday, the player with one of the Blackhawks’ best contracts was sent packing.

Hjalmarsson was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Connor Murphy and center Laurent Dauphin on Friday morning. With Hjalmarsson, the Blackhawks give up a tremendous defenseman with a winning pedigree.

“Niklas’ contributions to the three Stanley Cup championship teams are well known but his dependability as a teammate, selfless attitude and the way he represented the Chicago Blackhawks on and off the ice are what made him such a beloved member of the organization,” said Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He made his debut in Chicago in 2008 and quietly established himself as one of the toughest competitors in franchise history. We wish he and his family continued success.”

The 30-year-old defenseman has two years remaining on his current contract, which carries a $4.1 million cap hit. The 24-year-old Murphy has five years remaining on his current contract ($3.85 million cap hit). Dauphin is in the final year of his current entry-level contract ($745,000). According to CapFriendly, if Dauphin plays for the Rockford IceHogs this season, the Blackhawks can save $250,000 in cap space.

But this isn’t about money as much as the Blackhawks needing to get younger on defense. Murphy has played all four of his NHL seasons with the Coyotes. Last season he had two goals and 15 assists in 77 games.

Still, giving up Hjalmarsson is a tough one. Hjalmarsson has been a strong, steady presence for the Blackhawks. He once again led the team in blocked shots (181). Plenty of bumps, bruises and pain come with that job description but despite that, Hjalmarsson hasn’t missed much time. Since the 2012-13 season Hjalmarsson has missed just 12 games, and just four of those have been due to injury (suspected back injury last season).

The Blackhawks’ defense looked older and slower in their brief postseason run against the Nashville Predators, and they certainly have to start moving toward the future. But with Hjalmarsson playing at the level he has the past few seasons, his absence will hurt.