Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was hoping that after undergoing three surgeries last season that ended his 2019-20 campaign early, he would be ready to go in training camp. That didn’t happen and the veteran has yet to play this season with very little information coming out about how long he’ll miss. Speaking with Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times, GM Stan Bowman indicated that Seabrook won’t be coming back anytime soon and that there is some concern about his future:
He’s been a warrior for us. Think of his time in Chicago — he never really missed any games. But now we’re realizing he was playing through a lot of pain those years, and it’s caught up to him.
He was dealing with his shoulders and his hips to the point where he probably should have had [the surgeries] done years ago, but that’s how he’s always been driven — to keep moving forward, don’t worry about injuries, play through it. So, yeah, we are concerned for him. We certainly hope he can get past it.
Seabrook had planned to be in Chicago’s training camp before tweaking his back which has kept him out since then. He has managed to skate lightly on his own in recent weeks but nowhere near a level where he’d be considered close to returning. Pope likens Seabrook’s situation to that of teammate Zack Smith who also had a back injury, had planned to be ready for training camp, then wound up on the injured list and has yet to play this season.
The Blackhawks have used four blueliners on entry-level contracts so far this season and with it appearing that Seabrook won’t be back anytime soon (if at all this year), they will be able to get a longer look at some of those younger prospects. In the meantime, Seabrook and his $6.875MM AAV can be placed on LTIR if Chicago needs the cap room although they’re safely in cap compliance for the time being with Jonathan Toews on there and no word on how much longer he’ll be out.