Here we are.
A deal that has been talked about for weeks is all but official:
Keith to CHI for Caleb Jones and a third. No salary retained.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 12, 2021
According to multiple reports, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Caleb Jones and a third-round pick. The Blackhawks will NOT be retaining salary in the deal.
Here is the full deal with minor-leaguer Tim Söderlund and the conditions of the third-round pick the Oilers are sending to the Blackhawks…
Full Oilers-Hawks deal:
Duncan Keith and Tim Soderlund for Caleb Jones And 2022 3rd RD pick
The 2022 pick will become a 2nd RD pick if Edm wins 3 rounds in 2022 playoffs AND Keith is amongst the top 4 in Oilers D time on ice during the first three rounds of the 2022 Playoffs.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 12, 2021
The retained salary was a huge sticking point in the deal, according to multiple reports. But Chicago coming away with a young defenseman in Jones and a third-round pick, without eating money on the final two years of Keith’s deal, is pretty incredible.
Caleb Jones just turned 24-years-old in June and has 93 NHL games under his belt in his career with the Oilers. He is also the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, who has been trade target for the Blackhawks this offseason. So that is a big deal.
I am personally sad for the loss of Söderlund, even though his potential to play in the NHL is almost none. He was a very intriguing prospect coming out of Sweden and I thought he was on track to be another version of Viktor Arvidsson. But he was not.
Keith turns 38-years-old on Friday and has spent his entire career with the Blackhawks. He has played the second-most games of all-time for Chicago and was a key member of three Stanley Cup-winning teams. Keith was a Conn Smythe winner in 2015, and a two-time Norris Trophy winner in 2010 and 2014 — the same years he also won Olympic Gold Medals with Team Canada. He’s a sure-fire Hockey Hall of Famer and it is incredibly sad to see him not end his career with the Blackhawks.
But this was the right move for both Keith and Chicago.
Keith gets the chance to contend for a Stanley Cup with the Oilers, led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and be close to his family in British Columbia. The Blackhawks shed the final two years of Keith’s $5.538M AAV deal and gain a young depth defenseman who could turn into a solid player in Chicago’s rotation if given the chance. And again, they acquire Seth Jones’ younger brother, that cannot be overlooked in this deal. Making the room to add Seth Jones in a trade this offseason was key for the Blackhawks, who already are in a salary cap spot that is unfamiliar to them in recent years. They actually have cap room to work with.
Chicago is also not a stranger to using the family connections to make deals work. Back when it looked like former draft pick Dylan Sikura was on the fence about signing with the Blackhawks out of college, Chicago acquired Dylan’s older brother Tyler and played him with the Rockford IceHogs. Dylan eventually joined the Blackhawks following that minor-league move. Granted, this would be a move on a much larger scale for Chicago.
We’ll take some time this week to remember and honor Duncan’s time in Chicago and his impact on the Blackhawks. But for now, the deal is done.