Chicago Blackhawks defenseman and three-time Stanley Cup champion Brent Seabrook has decided to end his storied career at the age of 35.
The decision comes after a lingering back issue has kept him out of the 2020-21 season. Seabrook suffered the injury in the lead-up to the January restart and missed training camp. General manager Stan Bowman was initially hopeful the blueliner wouldn't be sidelined for too long, but in early February voiced concerns about his ability to play again.
Seabrook last stepped on the ice in December 2019 before being placed on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) after undergoing three separate surgeries on his right shoulder and both hips.
The Richmond, B.C., native was a model of durability prior to his health deteriorating in recent years. Before the 2019-20 season and outside of his rookie year, the most games Seabrook ever missed was four.
Seabrook leaves a legacy as one of Chicago's all-time great blueliners, playing on the top pairing of some of the most dynamic, dynastic teams in modern hockey history, hoisting half of the franchise’s six championships.
Seabrook still has three seasons after this one remaining on the eight-year, $55-million contract he signed in 2015, which was widely considered the not too long ago. Because he's not officially retiring, the $6.875-million annual salary will remain on Chicago’s books. He will be eligible for LTIR, allowing the team to use that cap space during the season, but it will still be a hurdle the team will have to navigate in the offseason as the contract will continue count against the salary cap.
Through his 15 years in Chicago, Seabrook amassed a total of 1,114 games played — 1,237 if you count the several postseason runs — while scoring 103 goals and 464 points. He also scored one of the most important goals in franchise history, firing home the OT winner against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of their second-round series in 2013.
Seabrook ends his career with the third-most games played in Blackhawks history, behind only franchise icon Stan Mikita and long-time D partner Duncan Keith.
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