If Duncan Keith wants out of Chicago, he has earned every right to make that call.
Reports of the Chicago Blackhawks and future Hall of Fame defenseman Duncan Keith searching for a potential trade partner started earlier this week, when Elliotte Friedman tweeted there were certain “rumblings” out of Chicago:
There are rumblings Chicago is working on a potential Duncan Keith trade to either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada. Word is Keith and team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go. We will see where this goes.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 30, 2021
This is not the first time that Keith has been linked to potential trade rumors to the Pacific Northwest. Keith has a full no-movement clause on his current deal with the Blackhawks which has two years left at a $5.538M AAV price tag. In the past, it was rumored that the Blackhawks were the ones looking to potentially move Keith. Now, it appears it is the opposite.
In a report filed by The Athletic’s Scott Powers, his sources tell him that Keith is the one looking to be on the move.
“We weren’t looking to move him, but it was initiated by Duncan,” a source said. “He’d like to be closer to his son. He’s getting older, and Duncan didn’t get to see him much last season. We understand that.”
Seattle, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary are all within ear-shot of the Penticton, British Columbia-area in Canada where Keith’s family lives. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has skated in the second-most games (1,192) with the Blackhawks in franchise history. He has the second-most points (625) in franchise history among defensemen. He has played in the fourth-most playoff games (135) in franchise history and has the most playoff points (86) in franchise history among defensemen, and won the 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy.
HE IS A LEGEND.
And if he wants to play his final years in the NHL closer to his family and not waste them being a baby-sitter in Chicago, he has earned the right to make that call.
According to reports out of Edmonton from Kurt Leavins, the Oilers appear to be the front-runners for Keith in a potential trade. The Oilers have the need for a defenseman to help solidify their top-four group and Keith wouldn’t need to necessarily play the same role in Edmonton as he has had to with the Blackhawks in the past few years.
Turning 38-years-old this month, Keith has led the Blackhawks in ice-time in every single season of his NHL career, including last season with Patrick Kane close behind him. His analytical numbers have suffered in recent years because his defensive role has not changed, playing on the powerplay and penalty-kill and playing nearly 20-minutes of 5v5 hockey per night, but his defensive partners have been a bunch of rookies or under-performers outside of Connor Murphy.
Put him in a role with a team like the Oilers and play him 16-18 minutes a night, his effectiveness would likely improve having to no longer be Mr. Do-It-All.
If the Blackhawks end up not moving Keith, which is a possibility, he’ll likely play on the top-pair again this season for Chicago. He’ll likely play alongside Adam Boqvist and be tasked with helping develop him, Ian Mitchell, Wyatt Kalynuk, Nicolas Beaudin, and any other young defensemen that might find their way into the Blackhawks’ blue-line rotation. He could do that, or contend for a Cup with Edmonton along with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Which sounds like more fun to you?