It was making the rounds this morning, thanks to James Cybulski of Sportsnet, that the Hawks tried to swap picks with the Canucks and get the Canucks to take Brent Seabrook’s contract along with it. The headline makes for all sorts of questions, namely have the Hawks already gone to Seabrook to see if he would go, and if they haven’t are they getting this out in the bloodstream to ratchet up the momentum toward it. You’d hope for the former, because the latter–while Seabrook certainly has earned this reputation he has now, he also has earned being treated up front by the Hawks–is pretty underhanded. Not that the Hawks haven’t done this before, as you’ll recall a couple hours before they got Brian Campbell to say yes to Florida they put it out that he had said no to Columbus. This isn’t a Hawks-only tactic, as teams like to let it know a player they don’t want won’t budge and then it makes them the villain in the piece.
I don’t know that Seabrook will ever be the villain to a majority of Hawks fans. He’s still a linchpin of three parades, and it’ll take a few more over-fed and under-mobile seasons for that to be completely washed away. That is combined with his level of play the last few years, and a seeming lack of commitment. Don’t get all twisted about that, because you don’t have the “BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE” stories flood training camp last year without admitting he wasn’t in shape before. It’s certainly a muddled picture.
Still, that would have been a bad trade. The Hawks wouldn’t have gotten a foundational player at #10, and they wouldn’t have lost that chance for anything other than cap space. And we don’t know that Dach is a foundational player…he just had better be.
So here we are. Whatever the method, the Hawks now have it clear they’d rather see the back of Seabrook. But no one is going to take that contract without losing another valuable piece somewhere, and the Hawks can’t keep doing that.
The problem for the Hawks is they seem terrified of making him a scratch, or a #7 or even #8 defenseman here. Maybe they think he’d become a distraction. Maybe they think he’d turn on Colliton. Maybe they think the other vets would turn on Colliton with him (those who haven’t already, that is). Maybe they think that’ll poison everything for the younger players. Maybe they think all of it.
But on the ground, in what matters, is that on the ice he simply isn’t one of the best six d-men the Hawks have now. Right now you could easily go:
Throw Dahlstrom in for Boqvist if you want, and that’s still six players of more or equal use than Seabrook. And even if you scratch out a role for Seabrook this year, next year Boqvist is definitely ready and Beaudin and Mitchell definitely are too. That’s if there are no trades for an actual NHL d-man like Faulk or Ghost Bear or whatever.
The Hawks have a week here, and they know what the answer is. They just won’t take it. Just buy him out. No, there are no savings. But that money’s gone anyway. It’s sunk cost. You’re spending it either way. So do you want the headache of jamming this player you clearly don’t want anymore and soon will have no room for onto your lineup simply because of the past he represents? Or do you clear yourself completely of the headache for the team and him?
You’re already biting the bullet of the cash. As we keep saying, why double the mistake by having to play him for 82?
It could not be any simpler, Luanne.