Entering the 2008-’09 season, many wondered whether Brent Seabrook was a legitimate first-pairing NHL defenseman or just another average, slow-footed, Lyle Odelein look-alike blue liner. Following the signing of a $10.5 million three-year deal in February of 2008, it was obvious what Hawks’ brass thought of him.
When February of this past season rolled around, Seabrook answered the question for himself: legitimate first-pairing defenseman, with or without Duncan Keith. It was then Seabrook who ramped up his physical game, often taking over games in his own end while almost exclusively playing against the best players the opposition had to offer.
Seabrook’s game is simple to describe: it’s, well, simple. In his own zone, he keeps his movement to a minimum, skating in straight lines to a point of contact, while focusing on knocking an offender off the puck or out of the play with his body. Offensively, #7 is an underrated passer in his own zone and led the Hawk defensemen in goals with eight during the regular season. He added 12 huge points in 17 playoff games, which also led Hawk defensemen.
Seabrook’s 2009-’10 will be a success if…
He keeps things simple. Players who find success often have a tendency to try to do too much after they’ve had time to digest said success. Playing along side Duncan Keith against other teams’ top lines helps refine Seabrook’s game; he needs to be the large simpleton who compliments the flashier All-Star.
Seabrook’s 2009-’10 will be a disappointment if…
He doesn’t produce on the power play. Those who watched Saturday’s game against the Capitals at the United Center know Seabrook saw significant time on the first power play unit, while Cam Barker and Keith manned the second unit. No matter which unit Seabrook sees the most time on, he’ll be asked to contribute. So long as he continues to get the puck to the net, he shouldn’t have a problem doing so.