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Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook Traded to Lightning for Tyler Johnson, Draft Pick

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 28, 2021

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded center Tyler Johnson and a second-round draft pick in 2023 to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Brent Seabrook, per ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois confirmed Johnson's move to Chicago in a statement relayed by Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times:

"I'd like to personally thank Tyler for what he has meant to this organization over the past nine years since he joined the Lightning as an undrafted free agent. He played a pivotal role in the success the team has enjoyed and will forever be remembered as a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Bolts. We wish him all the best in Chicago."

Johnson had 161 goals and 200 assists during his nine seasons in Tampa and capped his Lightning stint by winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the franchise.

Seabrook will not be playing for the Lightning. The 15-year NHL veteran announced in March that he has hung up his skates because of hip and shoulder injuries that had forced him off the ice since Dec. 2019, per Sean Leahy of NBC Sports.

However, Seabrook never officially retired. His eight-year, $55 million contract, which runs through the 2023-24 season, isn't going to be on Tampa's books because Seabrook will be placed on long-term injury reserve.

Encina and Chris Johnson of Hockey Night in Canada explained how the Lightning will save some cap space with this deal.

Eduardo A. Encina @EddieInTheYard

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBlightning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBlightning</a> not only gets Tyler Johnson’s $5M cap hit off the books but also acquires $1.8M it can use for LTIR from Seabrook contract, as <a href="https://twitter.com/reporterchris?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@reporterchris</a> reports. <br>More savvy cap work by JBB.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBolts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBolts</a>

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Chris Johnston @reporterchris

Not only did the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBLightning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBLightning</a> solve immediate cap issues with this Tyler Johnson trade, they actually created ~$1.8M in additional space since they'll now operate in LTIR with Brent Seabrook's deal on the books.

This was ultimately a masterstroke from BriseBois and the Lightning front office, as Cap Friendly also explained:

CapFriendly @CapFriendly

Why would <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBLightning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TBLightning</a> acquire a player with a higher cap hit than Johnson when they already have cap troubles?<br><br>Seabrook can be placed on LTIR, allowing them to exceed the cap by up to his $6.875M cap hit<br><br>TBL used LTIR extensively last season to remain compliant. <a href="https://t.co/97EFQVheAp">https://t.co/97EFQVheAp</a>

CapFriendly @CapFriendly

As displayed below, the Tampa Bay <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lightning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lightning</a> have a projected cap hit of 82,620,122 ($1,120,122 above the ceiling) and a roster of 16 (10F - 5D - 1G).<br><br>However, with Seabrook eligible to be placed on off-season LTI, Tampa can now build a roster up to $88,375,000. <a href="https://t.co/ghC7D00gwV">https://t.co/ghC7D00gwV</a>

Seabrook was a three-time Stanley Cup champion during his 15-year Blackhawks tenure. He also made the All-Star Game in 2015.

As for Johnson, the forward is part of a massive offseason overhaul for a Blackhawks team looking to return to its 2010s glory years.

Mark Lazerus of The Athletic summed up Chicago's moves, which included trading for Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury and four-time NHL All-Star defenseman Seth Jones.

Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus

In the last 15 days, the Blackhawks...<br><br>– Traded Duncan Keith<br>– Traded Brent Seabrook<br>– Traded for Seth Jones<br>– Traded for Marc-Andre Fleury<br>– Traded for Tyler Johnson

Last year's Blackhawks team went 24-25-7, finishing sixth in the Central Division.

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