On Sunday night, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook played his 500th NHL game. With another great defenseman who wore Number Seven in attendance – Chris Chelios – Seabrook and the Blackhawks staged a fantastic comeback to ultimately beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime.
But the significance of Seabrook’s achievement, which was barely noticed when flashed across the United Center scoreboard, should not be overlooked.
On Oct. 5, 2005, a 20-year-old made his NHL debut on the blue line for the Blackhawks. Seabrook had been the Hawks’ first round pick (14th overall) in the 2003 Draft, and jumped into the NHL after the labor stoppage ended. He had an assist in his debut, against Anaheim, and would lead all Hawks defensemen with 27 assists and 32 points in 69 games in his rookie season.
Since that day, Seabrook has been a consistent physical force on the Blackhawks roster. He has represented the Hawks on a gold medal-winning Canadian team at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and has a Stanley Cup ring.
In the long history of the Chicago Blackhawks, only 35 skaters played in 500 games wearing the Indian head sweater before Seabrook; the most recent to pass the benchmark was his partner on the blue line, Duncan Keith (through Sunday night, Keith is 13 games ahead of Seabrook).
Seabrook is only the 12th Hawks defenseman to cross 500 games with the franchise. Of the 11 in front of him, four have won the Norris Trophy: Doug Wilson (938), Pierre Pilote (821), Chelios (664) and Keith (513).
With 201 points, Seabrook ranks 11th all-time among Blackhawks defensemen. His nine game-winning goals are tied for sixth among Blackhawks defensemen, and his 14 power play goals rank 10th in team history.
Seabrook has been credited with at least 200 hits in each of his last three seasons, and has blocked over 100 shots in his last five seasons. In his 500 games, Seabrook has been credited with 1,091 hits and 807 blocked shots.
His new contract has him under Chicago control until 2016, at which time he and Keith may have established themselves as the best tandem in Hawks history.