Brent Seabrook

Poll: Will Seabrook re-sign?

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In Chicago, conversation about the cost of keeping the team together never really ends.

Having just come off a summer in which Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp all exited due to financial constraints, the ‘Hawks can now begin looking ahead to next July, when another prized player could go unrestricted:

Brent Seabrook.

Seabrook, 30, is heading into the last of a five-year, $29 million deal with a $5.8M cap hit. His resume is loaded — three Stanley Cups, Olympic gold, a ’15 All-Star Game appearance — and he’s coming off a postseason in which he led all defensemen in goals (seven), the same number that Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos potted.

So needless to say, he’d be coveted on the open market.

There are two sides to this discussion. The first is why Seabrook would want to stay in Chicago, and it’s a fairly easy sell — it’s the only team he’s ever known, having been drafted by the ‘Hawks in the first round in ’03. He’s since appeared in over 800 games in a ‘Hawks sweater during his 10-year career, and developed a dynamic pairing with fellow blueliner (and one of his best friends) Duncan Keith.

Seabrook also has, as mentioned above, achieved a boatload of success with the ‘Hawks.

But there are reasons why he’d leave.

Well, one big reason — the money.

Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks already have close to $60 million committed to 16 players after this season. While there aren’t many other noteworthy contracts on the horizon — Andrew Shaw will require a new deal in ’16-17, Teuvo Teravainen and Marko Dano the year after — there is a question of how much Chicago can pay Seabrook.

Do consider that, a few weeks ago, Calgary gave Mark Giordano — who’s a year older than Seabrook — a six year, $40.5 million extension that carries a $6.75M cap hit. Earlier this summer, TSN speculated that Seabrook “is due to earn at least Dion Phaneuf-type money, in the neighborhood of seven years and $49 million.”

Those are both pretty steep AAVs but, given the dearth of quality UFA defensemen that usually hit the market, they could be in Seabrook’s wheelhouse. Remember that Mike Green got $6M per from Detroit this summer, while Andrej Sekera got $33 million over five years from the Oilers.

If Seabrook doesn’t sign an extension prior to the season starting, you can expect this conversation to pick up steam as the year progresses.

But why wait for that? Let’s vote and discuss now.

O’Reilly’s impaired driving hearing pushed back to September

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild - Game Three
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From the Associated Press:

Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly’s court case in connection with an impaired driving charge has been continued to Sept. 10.

The decision was made Thursday morning during O’Reilly’s first hearing in London, Ontario, court. The 24-year-old player was not required to attend, and was represented by his lawyer, David Humphrey.

The court case stems from an incident in mid-July, in which O’Reilly reportedly drove his truck into a Tim Horton’s restaurant.

Back on July 13, the Ontario Provincial police announced O’Reilly had been charged with driving a motor vehicle while impaired and, under the Highway Traffic act, failing to remain at the scene.

More, from Ontario’s AM 980 radio:

According to Middlesex County OPP, a green Chevrolet pickup truck struck a commercial building on Richmond St. last Thursday morning (July 9) just after 4:00am. An employee of the Lucan Tim Hortons confirmed to AM980 that there had been a motor vehicle incident, but was unaware of the driver’s identity.

After the collision, police say a suspect drove the vehicle southbound on Saintsbury Line, before abandoning it and traveling by foot with another, unnamed, male occupant.

Two weeks prior to the incident, O’Reilly signed a seven-year, $52.5 million deal with the Sabres, after he was acquired from Colorado at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Police confirm Patrick Kane investigation

Patrick Kane
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On Friday, Hamburg police chief Greg Wickett offered a brief statement on his department’s involvement in yesterday’s reported Patrick Kane rape investigation.

“The town of Hamburg is investigating an incident that allegedly occurred at the residence of NHL player Patrick Kane last weekend,” Wickett said, adding that his department was still gathering information, waiting on the results of forensic testing, and would have no further comment.

Wickett then declined to answer any questions related to Kane or the investigation, telling reporters “you’re wasting your time.”

Kane, who lives in Hamburg during the offseason, reportedly had his residence searched by police over the weekend, per the Chicago Tribune:

Neighbors told the Tribune that three unmarked police cars descended upon Kane’s Hamburg home Sunday, and several plainclothes officers entered his house using flashlights.

At least one officer wore gloves and could be seen taking pictures in the front, said one witness, who asked not to be named.

Here’s a more comprehensive timeline of events thus far, per the Buffalo News:

• A young local woman has alleged that Kane, 26, took her to his Hamburg waterfront home and raped her after meeting her in a downtown Buffalo nightclub Saturday night or early Sunday.

• The alleged victim went to a local hospital, where she was examined for physical signs that she had been raped.

• The prosecutor assigned to the case is Roseanne Johnson, who specializes in sexual assault cases and heads the Special Victims Unit in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

More to follow…

Johansson on brink of big raise, but his role with Caps might decline

Marcus Johansson
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Marcus Johansson had his arbitration hearing today and whatever ruling gets handed down by Friday afternoon, it’s likely to be a substantial boost from his 2014-15 salary of roughly $2.2 million, but will he earn his next sum?

That’s open for debate and it doesn’t have as much to do with Johansson as it does with the changing makeup of the Capitals as Chuck Gormley argued for CSN Washington:

With Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky slotted as the Caps’ first- and second-line left wings, and T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams slotted as their first- and second-line right wings, Johansson figures to start the season as a third-line left wing with centers Brooks Laich or Jay Beagle and right wing Tom Wilson.

His power-play time (2:55 per game last season, fourth on the club) could also dip because of the additions of Oshie and Williams.

And yet Johansson did record 20 goals and 47 points last season after finishing with 44 points in his previous campaign, so he could very well get somewhat close to his asking price from the arbitrator. Given that, Gormley wondered if the Capitals might end up walking away from Johansson’s contract. They would have the option of doing so provided that the arbitrator’s assigned salary is more than $3.8 million.

Keep in mind that Washington only has about $5 million worth of cap space to begin with and that’s excluding Justin Peters, who will presumably start the 2014-15 campaign in the minors, so the financial flexibility gained from a walk-away would be noteworthy.

At the same time, ending up with nothing in return for Johansson would be a tough pill to swallow. While a contract in the neighbor of $4 million isn’t ideal for someone playing on the third line, he would still have value to Washington in that role.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Johansson and the Capitals can still agree to terms on their own before the arbitrator’s ruling.

Related: Arbitration looms, but Johansson not worried about future with Caps

Mayers returning to ‘Hawks in front office role

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Jamal Mayers, who played in 100 games with Chicago and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2013, is returning to the Blackhawks in a community liaison role.

“We are proud to welcome Jamal back to the organization in this role,” Blackhawks president John McDonough said in a statement. “We envision him being a strong asset to the Blackhawks as we continue to focus on the growth of youth hockey.

“Jamal’s involvement in our local neighborhoods will help to further ingrain the Blackhawks brand into our community.”

Mayers, 40, wrapped a 15-year playing career following that Cup win and has spent the last two years working in television. All told, he played in over 900 NHL games for the ‘Hawks, Blues, Maple Leafs, Flames and Sharks, and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2007 World Hockey Championships.