Duncan Keith Will Be Remembered As One of the Greatest Blackhawks in Franchise History

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Duncan Keith Will Be Remembered As One of the Greatest Blackhawks in Franchise History

Chicago Blackhawks

Where do you start for a guy who did it all?

For 16 NHL seasons, Duncan Keith led the Chicago Blackhawks in minutes played per game. He was always there. One of the most reliable defensemen in the league for most of those 16 seasons, Keith’s Blackhawks legacy will go down as one of the best players in franchise history.

No one will ever wear number two again for the Blackhawks, that’s a given. Only Stan Mikita has played in more games for the Blackhawks than Duncan Keith has and he was one of the seven players during the Blackhawks “One Goal” era to be part of all three Stanley Cup Championship teams.

His run during the three Stanley Cups in six years span Chicago went on was one of the  most successful any Blackhawks player has seen. In 2010 alone, Keith won an Olympic Gold Medal with Team Canada, the Norris Trophy, and the Stanley Cup. He added another Cup in 2013, another Norris Trophy and Gold Medal with Canada in 2014, and put in a Conn Smythe-winning effort for his third Stanley Cup in 2015.

His skating ability was unique, his ability to play in every situation for the Blackhawks was irreplaceable, and his conditioning was nearly inhuman. Even at 37-year-old, Keith was playing over 23-minutes a night for Chicago. What other 37-year-olds in the NHL could do that?

Now he heads to the Edmonton Oilers to likely close his career.

A sure-fire Hockey Hall of Famer, Keith leaves a legacy behind in Chicago that should have him in discussions as one of the best players in the city’s sports history. If not, he can be considered one of the most un-sung players in Chicago sports history.

Seeing Keith leave the Blackhawks organization seemed unthinkable a few years ago. He was skating with his third Stanley Cup and was hoisting the Conn Smythe. It seemed like Keith was the most sure-fire “Blackhawk for life.” The trade should have sent shockwaves through the Blackhawks and NHL community.

Instead, the slow-burn of his trade rumors and the fact that he is just the latest in a long line of players and coaches from the “One Goal” era to leave the Blackhawks and/or retire, made the news of him heading to Edmonton more tolerable. Either that, or I’ve become numb to the idea of the modern era glory days of the Blackhawks being put to rest.

The Blackhawks have been blessed with legendary defensemen like Doug Wilson, Chris Chelios, and Pierre Pilote, but off all of them, Keith stands above them. He was Mr. Everything for Chicago and he did it when the spotlight was its brightest. Chicago did indeed run on Duncan.

I’ll leave you with this message from Keith at the 2013 Stanley Cup Rally.

Thank you, Duncs.

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.