The highly-anticipated five-year contract extension for Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook became official Sunday afternoon.
Seabrook, whose deal is reportedly worth $29 million, joins Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell and David Bolland as the team's core players under contract through at least the 2013-14 season. Patrick Sharp still has one year left on his four-year contract that he signed in 2008.
With Seabrook's $5.8 million annual salary, the Blackhawks have roughly $48 million tied into 11 players for the 2011-12 season. As of Sunday afternoon, they remained one point out of eighth in the Western Conference with 21 games to play this season.
"Brent is a very important member of our organization and we are looking forward to him being part of a core group that will be a contender for many years to come," Hawks GM Stan Bowman said in a press release. "We have been fortunate to have Brent as part of our family since he was a teenager and we are proud to be able to announce this news today."
The Blackhawks made Seabrook the No. 14 pick in the 2003 Entry Draft. He is 25 years old now and ranks 13th in franchise history with 453 games played. He'll play in No. 454 Sunday night at United Center against Phoenix. He has 177 career points on 34 goals and 143 assists.
"The Blackhawks are the only organization I've ever played for, and I've been a part of something very special in Chicago over the last six seasons," Seabrook said. "I'm excited to continue being a part of this group, playing in the United Center and making our fans proud."
Seabrook has 29 assists and 33 points this season while ranking fourth in the NHL in hits with 169.
"He's a big part of the team and I think you've got to appreciate what he brings to us," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's got great leadership qualities. He plays quality minutes -- power-play, penalty killing, matchup minutes. He's a physical presence back there and (along with Duncan Keith) was really instrumental in us winning the Cup. He's still doing a lot of good things for us right now and is part of that mix that would be nice to have here for a long time."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl