Brent Seabrook had an up and down season in every sense of the term. He had dominant stretches, and stretches of play that would require years of study in order for them to make sense.
He was hurt at times, dealing with ever rotating partners that were either re-enacting The Humpty Dance on ice or didn't make sense.
He had a contract negotiation hanging over his head and then a signed deal to burden him.
He carried the banner of being the only physical Hawks defenseman (maybe even player), as well as manning both top special teams units.
And through it all, he blasted by his career high in points, tied his high in goals, and proved more that he will anchor the Hawks blue line than be a hinderance.
Positives: When Campbell was hurt and Duncan Keith was struggling to tie his skates, only Seabrook was providing stability in the back, even more so when considering Niklas Hjalmarsson's tenuous at-best relationship with competence. He was physical, and his heavy shot was a real weapon on one of the league's best power plays. Connsidering just how bad Keith was at times, it was Seabrook who kept them from getting murdered more than they did. The big revelation this season, and what led to his new high in points, was his superb passing. Seabrook displayed the second-best outlets on the Hawks, behind Campbell, and he didn't have the wheels to open up as many lanes as 51 Phantom does. How many 150-foot stretch passes to release a rush did Seabrook make? And he was locked down for the next five years contractually.
Negatives: Some of these as well. Seabrook caught whatever was afflicting Keith at times, and would get turnover happy. His positioning at times was silly, and he's a main cog of a penalty kiling unit that let the team down far too much at times. Paired with Niklas Hjalmarsson for far too many games, Seabrook tried to adjust his game to do the things he doesn't do as well to mesh with Hammer's conservative game. Also took his fair number of shots, and probably shouldn't have played a many games as he did when he was still woozy. The backlash against his contract extension, while not his fault in any way, was disheartening as a Hawks fan who would like to believe most Hawks fans aren't on hallucinogens.
Contract Status: Locked in for five more years at a hit of $5.8 million per.
Keep Him Or Ship Him: Suffering from the same jealousy of money that Chicago fans have that got to Keith this year, a lot more critical eyes were focused on Brent. But to borrow a quote from my colleagues at The Fifth Feather.com, Team Canada has seven defensemen. Team Canada. Not Slovakia, not Russia, not the U.S., but the premier force in hockey. And the Hawks have two of them for the next five years at least. With a refreshed Keith, Seabrook will combine to once again give the Hawks a top pairing that's always in the discussion for best around (and if Shea Weber leaves Nashville, it's not even much of a discussion). Seabrook has his warts, but he's gotten better every year, and a big, mobile, nasty d-man with offensive upside are the hardest commodity to find in hockey. The Hawks have this one for years, and well they should.