Chicago Blackhawks: A Quenneville and Seabrook reunion in South Beach?

Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

A South Beach reunion may solve some of the Chicago Blackhawks blue-line issues.

For those of you Chicago Blackhawks fans who reside in the listening area for Chicago’s 670 The Score sports-talk radio station, you might be familiar with Jay Zawaski.

The producer also does some on-air work as well as writing for the station’s Web site, and he knows his hockey. I don’t agree with all his takes, but he wrote something about the Blackhawks’ defensive woes and a possible solution that got me thinking.

Let’s be clear here – this is just Zawaski throwing an idea out into the ether for fans to ponder, and not a news report. That established, let’s take a look at Jay’s take.

Zawaski correctly notes that the Hawks have problems on the blue line. One of those problems is Brent Seabrook. He’s a member of the Hawks’ core (along with Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, and Corey Crawford) and his past heroics are part of why the team won three Stanley Cups in the last decade, but his play has been on a downward slide for a while (Zawaski thinks the decline started in 2013, while the Hawks were still competing for Cups).

Not only that, but he’s still under contract for five more years at an annual salary cap hit of $6.875 million. Zawaski points out that the Hawks have several defensive prospects who might be stuck in Rockford – or on the Hawks’ third unit – if Seabrook continues to occupy a roster spot, implying that these young players might not get a chance to grow or be evaluated by coaches on a team that needs defensive help. Not to mention that while the Hawks should have room under the cap this off-season, this team has faced cap crunches before.

Seabrook’s contract has a no-movement clause, to boot.

Zawaski proposes an interesting solution – reunite the aging Seabrook with former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and former Hawks’ GM Dale Tallon.

His reasoning makes sense – Q and Seabs like each other, making it more likely that Seabrook would waive his no-movement clause , and the veteran Seabrook could use his leadership to help Florida improve. Meanwhile, the Hawks would clear space for a prospect or free agent, or have prospects come back in a trade. They’d also rid themselves of an onerous contract.

Zawaski doesn’t mention Florida players that could come to Chicago, and it’s all moot if Seabrook won’t waive his no-movement clause, but it’s an intriguing idea.

Like I said, I don’t agree with all of Zawaski’s hockey takes (although I probably do agree more often than not) but this one has me thinking. I’d like to know more about the Panthers and their prospects, so I could think about the potential return on this hypothetical trade, but as much as I’d hate to see a player that helped the team win three titles depart, this might be the best way to do it.

Hawks clear cap and roster room, Seabrook reunites with a favorite coach, and the win-win nature makes the parting easier on the fans.

Hawks general manager Stan Bowman has already said he’ll be aggressive in free agency this off-season, but perhaps trading a key member of the Cup teams could also be part of the plan for improvement.