The Blackhawks discussed a package deal with the Canucks this past weekend that would’ve seen them swap the No. 3 overall pick for the No. 10 selection if Vancouver would take on veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook’s contract, reports James Cybulski of Sportsnet.
Cybulski said the Canucks were eyeing defenseman Bowen Byram of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants at No. 3. The Blackhawks selected center Kirby Dach of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades with the third pick then the Avalanche took Byram at No. 4. The Canucks ended up taking Russian winger Vasili Podkolzin, who will play two more KHL seasons with SKA St. Petersburg before making the jump to the NHL.
There’s no guarantee Dach, a consensus top-10 pick, would’ve been available for the Blackhawks at No. 10. If the Blackhawks would’ve struck the deal, it would’ve marked the first time a team traded down from a top-four pick since 2003 when the Panthers swapped the first overall pick for the third with Pittsburgh in a packaged deal.
Seabrook has five years remaining on his contract with a $6.875 million annual salary cap hit, including three more years of a full no-movement clause. The last two years contain modified no-trade clauses of five and 10 teams he can be traded to, respectively. The Blackhawks reportedly asked Seabrook to waive his no-movement clause in February, but the three-time Stanley Cup champion declined. The 34-year-old had five goals and 28 points in 78 regular-season games this past season and has seen a decline in his play the past two seasons. He grew up in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, which is less than an hour from Vancouver so he may have been willing to be dealt back to his hometown.
The Blackhawks could also buy out Seabrook’s contract, which would make him an unrestricted free agent and provide some salary cap relief next season and for the 2021-22 season at $3.16 million. The 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons get virtually no relief with a calculated savings of only $166,667 and then his cap hit lingers at $833,333 through the rest of the next decade.