Tag: Steve Stamkos

Brent Seabrook

Poll: Will Seabrook re-sign?


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.

Stamkos extension ‘No. 1 priority’ this offseason, says Yzerman

Steven Stamkos

Less than 48 hours after losing the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman was already back at work.

During Wednesday’s end-of-year media availability, Yzerman told reporters he’d identified his top offseason priority — signing captain Steve Stamkos to an extension, which can be done by July 1 at the earliest.

The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the Lightning don’t have many free agents to deal with. But it is the official start of what promises to be an intriguing negotiation.

Stamkos is heading into the last of a five-year, $37.5 million deal with a $7.5M average annual cap hit. Given he’s one of the NHL’s elite snipers and only turned 25 in February, it’s assumed he’s in line for a raise, with some suggesting he’ll be in conversation to become NHL’s next $10M cap hit, joining Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (their extensions kick in next season.)

But is Yzerman ready to commit that much money to one player?

If this postseason showed anything, it’s that Tampa has a slew of talented youngsters on the verge of becoming stars. Chief among them was Tyler Johnson, the leading playoff scorer — and while both he and Ondrej Palat are locked in through 2017 at $3.3M per, they’ll almost certainly be getting raises on their next deals.

And they’re not alone.

Nikita Kucherov, a bargain at $711,666 annually, is a RFA after next year. So too are Alex Killorn ($2,5M), Cedric Paquette ($633,333) and J.T. Brown ($950,000). Once Victor Hedman’s $4-million-per-season deal is up, he’ll almost certainly top Matthew Carle ($5.5M annually) as the team’s highest-paid defenseman.

Oh yeah, almost forgot — when Hedman’s deal is up in two year’s time, so too is Ben Bishop’s.

Any potential cap crunch could, of course, be mitigated by how badly Stamkos wants to stay in Tampa. It’s clear the team has the foundation to contend for years to come, meaning his decision could come down to the age-old question:

What’s more important, winning or money?

Do consider what Stamkos said today.

“This was one of, if not the best teams I’ve played on,” he said. “Not just skill wise, but how we got along.

“This was the most fun I’ve ever had playing the game.”

Cooper: ‘This is going to leave a scar, no doubt’

Cedric Paquette

CHICAGO — And then, there’s the losing side.

In the wake of their loss to Chicago in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, the Lightning were forced to do what the losing team does: watch someone else celebrate, listen to the cheers from the dressing room, and wait to field the questions.

Not just any questions, but those questions. The ones nobody likes to ask and even fewer like to answer.

How does it feel? What do you say? How much does it hurt? Can you describe your emotions?

Jon Cooper, credit to him, tried his best to respond.

“We’ve got a group of young men in there, but they’re kids at heart, and they’re crushed,” he said. “It was really hard to look at them and see how crushed they truly are. I’m crushed for two other people. I’m crushed for [assistant coach] Rick Bowness. I envisioned handing him the Stanley Cup. And I’m crushed for [other assistant] Steve Thomas because I envisioned doing the same thing. Guys have been in this league for a long time and you just want to see other people succeed and be a part of the success.

“Maybe we’ll look back weeks from now and somewhat treasure what we accomplished. But we’ve got unfinished business to do. The Montreal series last year stung, but that pales in comparison to what this feels like.”

The Lightning were visibly gutted following tonight’s 2-0 loss — the first time they’d been shut out in 19 playoff games. That lack of offense was a recurring theme over the final three games of this series, all Chicago wins; the Bolts only put two pucks past Corey Crawford through Games 4-6, with captain and former 60-goal man Steve Stamkos failing to find the back of the net all series.

“Ultimately, we didn’t score enough,” Cooper admitted. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the playoffs that we were going to be the team that scored one goal in the last two games, that wasn’t our MO.

“We were only giving up two goals a game. When this team only gives up two, we win a majority of those games. The pucks just didn’t go in for us. It was a tough time for us to go cold, have the well go dry, especially since we carried this on the whole year.”

Ultimately, this will serve as a learning experience for the Bolts. The team is young, talented and thanks to GM Steve Yzerman’s managerial savvy, well-positioned to remain a title contender in a salary cap world.

But that’s of little condolence on a night when their Stanley Cup dreams were dashed away.

“This is going to leave a scar,” Cooper said. “No doubt.”

Sweet home Chicago: Blackhawks are your 2015 Stanley Cup champions


CHICAGO — They’ve done it again.

But this time, they did it at home.

For the third time in the last six years — and for the first time in Chicago since 1938 — the Blackhawks ascended to the top of the NHL, beating Tampa Bay 2-0 on Monday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, winning the series four games to two.

Tonight’s game was, like every game this series, a thrilling affair with little separating the two teams. While the final didn’t go the full seven games and failed to feature a single overtime, the Bolts and ‘Hawks combined for one of the most tightly-contested championship series the NHL’s seen in a long time.

Perhaps that’s why it took a special play from a special player to decide it.

Duncan Keith, the Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP, scored the winning goal late in the second period on a terrific solo effort, picking up his own rebound before firing past Ben Bishop. That Keith scored the winner was fitting and cemented himself in Blackhawk lore; with the goal, he became the first ‘Hawk to score a cup-winning tally at home since Carl Voss beat the Maple Leafs at the old Chicago Stadium 77 years ago.

Keith wasn’t the only hero on the night, however.

Corey Crawford, outstanding in the latter half of this series, stopped all 23 shots faced for his first-ever Stanley Cup Final shutout. Over the final three games, the two-time Cup-winning ‘tender allowed just two goals, finishing with a sparkling .975 save percentage.

But there’s another side to Crawford’s heroics.

For as good as he was, the Bolts will have their regrets about failing to beat him. The NHL’s highest-scoring team during the regular season struggled to generate offense as the series progressed, and were shut out in tonight’s elimination contest — the first time they’ve been blanked in 19 games.

And it’s not like the Lightning were without their chances. Captain Steve Stamkos, who’ll undoubtedly face criticism after failing to score in the series, hit the crossbar in the first period and had a breakaway spectacularly saved by Crawford in the second.

As for the ‘Hawks, tonight’s win officially cemented them as the closest thing we’ve seen to a dynasty in the salary cap era. Sure, the group is going look different moving forward, and some familiar faces will say goodbye, but this collection of players has left an unforgettable mark on the city.

And that’s something that’ll never change.


Patrick Kane finally snapped his scoring slump in the third period, notching his first goal of the series on a nice Brad Richards pass… Keith became the fourth player to log over 700 minutes in a single postseason (since the NHL began tracking in ’98), joining Nicklas Lidstrom, Drew Doughty and Chris Pronger… Keith also matched Chicago’s franchise record for most points by a d-man in a single season, drawing even with Chris Chelios (21 pts, 1992)… The ‘Hawks continued their impressive run of protecting leads tonight — a perfect 33-0-0 when leading after two periods this year, including a 8-0 mark in the playoffs… Ben Bishop finished with 30 saves on 32 shots.

Kucherov ‘probable’ for Game 6, says Cooper

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two

CHICAGO — In a Stanley Cup Final where injury updates have been extremely hard to come by, Monday bucked the trend.

Following the morning skate, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said injured forward Nikita Kucherov — who exited Game 5 in the first period after crashing into the Chicago net — was “probable” for tonight’s Game 6 at the United Center.

Opting to speak in traditional NFL parlance — “what to they use in football?” Cooper joked — the Bolts bench boss decided to reveal Kucherov’s status, a far cry from what he’s done with the health of starting netminder Ben Bishop. To be fair, things were trending in this direction yesterday, when Cooper said Kucherov was “in considerably better shape” than on Saturday night.

Having the Russian sniper available is huge. Kucherov currently sits second in playoff scoring with 22 points, and Tampa Bay is struggling to score goals right now; they’ve only put two past Corey Crawford in the last two games and sniper Steve Stamkos has gone cold, having failed to find the back of the net since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against New York.