With Duncan Keith on the shelf as he awaits his fate, the Chicago Blackhawks can breathe a little easier as fellow defenseman Brent Seabrook is expected to return to the lineup Friday against the Winnipeg Jets after missing one game with an illness.
Having Seabrook on the blue line would be a tremendous lift for the Blackhawks as Keith was suspended indefinitely by the NHL after swinging his stick and hitting Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle in the face during Tuesday’s loss to the Wild. The two-time Norris Trophy winner was offered an in-person hearing with the league, which usually results in a ban of five or more games.
Seabrook appeared in all 76 of Chicago’s games prior to Tuesday, setting career highs of 13 goals and six power-play tallies while adding 29 assists and a plus-6 rating. He is six points shy of matching his personal best of 48, which he set in 2010-11.
The 30-year-old Seabrook had not missed a contest since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, when he sat out just one of the Blackhawks’ 48 games. He has played in every contest five times in eight seasons prior to 2015-16 and has missed a total of 11 games – including Tuesday’s – over the last 10 campaigns after sitting out 13 as a rookie in 2005-06.
Selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Seabrook recorded five goals and 27 assists over 69 games in his debut season. He notched a career-high 39 assists in 2010-11 and has finished with a minus rating only twice in his first 10 campaigns.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Seabrook has collected 84 goals and 276 assists in 839 regular-season games while registering 19 tallies and 57 points over 112 playoff contests. A three-time Stanley Cup champion and 2015 All-Star, the native of Richmond, British Columbia has helped Canada capture gold medals at the 2003 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, 2005 World Junior Championship and 2010 Winter Olympics and silver at the 2004 World Juniors.