CHICAGO – During Brent Seabrook’s contract negotiations with the Blackhawks, both sides agreed to the same basic premise.
Get a deal done before the final playoff push. Otherwise, table the talks until the offseason.
Seabrook and the Hawks avoided a summer session Sunday when they agreed to a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $29 million. The deal should keep Seabrook, 25, patrolling the blue line for the Hawks at least until the end of the 2015-16 season.
“I’m very excited,” Seabrook said. “Chicago has been my home for the last six years, and I love it here. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and I think we’re going to have a lot more ups than downs in the future. I’m really proud to be a part of this for another five years.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenne-
ville said Seabrook contributed in every phase of the game.
“It’s good news,” Quenne-ville said. “We’re excited about having him in the long term. He’s a big part of the team. He was instrumental in the success we had last year, and he’s a big leader in the room we have today.
“He does a lot of things for us – special teams, quality minutes, physicality on the back end. He’s what you look for in a defenseman.”
Seabrook’s salary cap number will increase to $5.8 million next season from $3.5 million this season, which could force Hawks general manager Stan Bowman to cut payroll in other areas.
Bowman said the team was in a good position to manage its cap space before next season.
“Certainly, this summer is not going to be nearly as difficult as last year,” Bowman said.
Trade talk: Bowman joked that he was losing his voice because he was spending so much time on the phone in the days leading up to today’s 2 p.m. trade deadline.
“If we end up with the group we have in the locker room now, I’m very comfortable with that,” Bowman said. “But we’re looking at aggressively trying to improve the team.”
Bowman said he was initiating most of the calls. He was optimistic that he could add a depth player or two without sacrificing any key players for the playoff stretch.
“In a perfect world, you’d like to have a defenseman and a center,” Bowman said. “… It’s unlikely you’re going to get both of those, but we’re working it on both fronts because you don’t know which one’s going to come in your lap at the end.”
Hawks bits: Hawks defenseman Jordan Hendry needed help off the ice after Coyotes forward Shane Doan drilled him against the boards with 17:13 to go in the game. Quenneville said Hendry had a lower-body injury and would be re-evaluated today.