Brent Seabrook won’t play for the Blackhawks in the postseason.
The 35-year-old defenseman said he will not be on the Blackhawks’ roster that will be traveling to Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Teams are allowed up to 31 players, including goaltenders, to travel with the team.
“I’m not going to go,” said Seabrook, who told general manager Stan Bowman of his decision Thursday. “My main focus was to come here to play and to see how I felt and get up to speed as fast as I could.
“I just don’t feel comfortable yet, as comfortable as I want to feel on the ice.”
Seabrook, who has been a full participant in training camp, had surgery three times during the regular season; on his right shoulder Dec. 27, then his left hip in January and his right hip on Feb. 6. After the third surgery, Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry said Seabrook would need 5-6 months to recover.
He scored four points (three goals, one assist) in 32 games this season and has 464 points (103 goals, 361 assists) in 1,114 career NHL games, all with the Blackhawks.
“Looking back on the [training] camp,” Seabrook said, ”it was good for me to see where I’m at and see what I still have to work on and the things I have to get better at and stronger with and continue to heal from to be ready for camp next [season].
“I’m excited with the way it went. I’m looking forward to training hard and figure out the last few things I need to figure out and be ready for next [season]. I want to come back and not just be a good player for the Blackhawks, but I want to be a great player in the League. I think I’m capable of doing that. I’ve done it for a long time and if I get an opportunity here to play, I’m going to give this team everything I’ve got like I’ve always done.”
Seabrook said he’ll practice with the Blackhawks on Saturday before the team leaves for Edmonton. Chicago will play an exhibition game against the Blues on July 29 before a best-of-five qualifier series against the Oilers. The series starts Aug. 1.
The Blackhawks now have 11 defensemen to choose from to take to Edmonton: Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Lucas Carlsson, Calvin de Haan, Chad Krys*, Duncan Keith, Slater Koekkoek, Olli Maatta, Connor Murphy, Alec Regula and Nick Seeler. Both de Haan (family emergency) and Murphy (groin) have missed time during training camp but are expected to travel.
Seabrook’s eight-year contract extension ($6.875 million annual average value), which he agreed to in September 2015, runs through the 2023-24 season.
“I don’t know what my place is with the Blackhawks,” he said. “That’s a question for Stan and Jeremy [Colliton]. As far as the NHL goes, I know that I can be an impact player on a hockey club. I still think that I’m one of the best defensemen in this locker room, and if given the chance and given the opportunities that some guys get, then I would definitely be able to live up to those expectations and exceed them. I’ve done it my whole career.”
“A lot of people want to make a lot of my contract and my age. I think if [I’m] given the opportunity and feeling like a big part of the team on the ice, you’ll get everything I’ve got. And I’ve got lots left.”