After the initial wave of surprise and nostalgia, one of the biggest questions coming after the news on Friday morning that Brent Seabrook was retiring was what happens to the Chicago Blackhawks cap situation. Seabrook still has three years left on his current contract at a $6.875M AAV cap hit through the 2023-24 season.
Not being a salary cap expert myself, I turned to the good people at PuckPedia to help me answer these questions for concerned Blackhawks fans. Give them a follow on social media. They’re a great resource for everything regarding the NHL salary cap, transactions, and especially heading into this summer with the Seattle expansion draft looming.
First, what does Seabrook retiring mean for the Blackhawks as far as any cap recapture – do they face any penalties?
PuckPedia: “No. He didn’t actually ‘retire,’ he’s just going to be injured through the end of his contract. It’s the same situation with what happened with Marian Hossa. He’ll still get paid in full, nothing will be different as now. He’ll be eligible to be on LTIR through the end of his deal.” (Other examples of players in this situation include Dave Bolland and Henrik Zetterberg.)
Is Seabrook’s No-Movement Clause still in effect?
PuckPedia: “Everything with his contract is still in effect, he’s just injured and eligible for LTIR.”
With the Seattle expansion draft coming up, will he still need to be protected by the Blackhawks because of his No-Movement Clause?
PuckPedia: “Typically the league excludes players out for rest of career from being eligible from being picked. If Seabrook agrees to waive his NMC, then that’s easiest. They don’t have to protect him and Seattle wouldn’t take him. But even if he doesn’t waive, the league would likely make it so Chicago doesn’t have to protect him because of the career ending injury.”
So it is likely that, no matter what, the Blackhawks will not have to use a protection spot on him?
With Seabrook moving to long-term injured reserve, along with Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith, the Blackhawks currently have $23M in cap space to work with as the trade deadline approaches. The Blackhawks will hold Seabrook on LTIR for the remainder of his contract, unless his deal is moved from the team in some way. In effect, though, his money will not count against the Blackhawks salary cap as long as he is on LTIR.
We’ll see what the Blackhawks end up doing with that much cap space for the rest of the 2021. I wouldn’t be surprised either way if president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman decided to add a player to help with the Blackhawks in a postseason push situation, or if they decided to stand pat and remain focused on the rebuilding process for the future of the club.
Bowman says going through this with Hossa before gives them experience on how to handle this cap-wise.
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 5, 2021
Because Seabrook is no longer able to play, it’s worth noting the Blackhawks cannot buy him out. That option had been floated around for the last two years surrounding what to do with his contract, now it’s off the table. Chicago also cannot bury the contract in the minors because injured players cannot be sent down.
With the economic status of the NHL still in limbo due to the pandemic’s impact on the league, it’s hard to fathom any trades involving Seabrook’s contract with the cap not increasing for the foreseeable future. It’s probable that his contract will sit with the Blackhawks for the remainder of its time.
My thanks again to PuckPedia for helping me with the information in regards to Seabrook’s contract, go check them out.