Lightning sending Johnson to Blackhawks Seabrook
By: Mike Stiles - Thursday, July 29, 2021

(top photo) Brent Seabrook (photo courtesy of NHL) (bottom photo) Tyler Johnson (photo courtesy of Raw Charge)

(TAMPA) - On the eve of the NHL's free-agency signing period, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks parted ways with key cogs of Stanley Cup-winning eras for both franchises, allowing both some maneuverability moving forward. On Tuesday, Tampa Bay traded forward Tyler Johnson and a 2023 second-round draft pick to Chicago in exchange for defenseman Brent Seabrook, both teams announced, in a complicated move that involves a long-term injury. Johnson, 30, had just eight goals and 22 points in a limited role for the Lightning this season, but occupied important minutes in the postseason and was a contributor to the last two postseason runs, both of which ended with a Tampa Bay title. Chicago GM Stan Bowman says Johnson adds a large amount of skill and depth to the Blackhawks' offense. Bowman says Johnson's versatility across the lineup, two-way play and championship experience throughout his career make Chicago's lineup stronger. An undrafted veteran, Johnson is signed through the 2023-24 season with a salary-cap hit of $5 million, and with the Lightning backed up against the cap, he became expendable. He has 161 goals and 361 points for his career, and there was some thought that the Spokane, Washington native might end up with the expansion Seattle Kraken during their first offseason. Seabrook, 36, is a former first-round selection of the Blackhawks, drafted No. 14 overall back in 2003, - and was a mainstay on the blue line for three Stanley Cup runs in Chicago. He is third in franchise history in games played (1,114) and one of just four Chicago defensemen to top 100 goals. Seabrook also had 20 goals and 59 points in 123 career postseason games for the Blackhawks. But he missed all of last season with a hip injury, and will remain under the NHL's long-term injured reserve designation for the remainder of his contract, the Lightning confirmed. He, too, is signed through the 2023-24 season, carrying a $6.8 million cap hit.