The past decade of Chicago Blackhawks hockey has been defined by three primary individuals. Team captain Jonathan Toews, superstar scorer Patrick Kane, and dauntless defenseman Duncan Keith. All eras must come to an end eventually though. Despite Toews preparing for his return after missing all of last season, it appears the Big 3 is close to being broken up.
Reports surfaced this past week that Keith approached the Blackhawks organization about a potential trade. This came as a bit of a surprise. Most expected the 38-year old to finish his stellar career in Chicago. Maybe even make one more serious run in the playoffs if the rebuild efforts went as hoped. However, the 38-year old has different plans. Is it because he’s unhappy with the state of the team? No. According to Scott Powers of The Athletic, it’s more personal than that.
“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.”
This is a perfectly understandable reason.
Colton, Keith’s son, is seven years old. The father doesn’t want to miss those formative years before it’s too late. With the child living up in British Columbia, it makes sense why Keith would request a trade to a team either in the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada. Are there any possibilities? Powers colleague Daniel Nugent-Bowman is hearing one that makes a ton of sense. Both for the acquiring team and the Blackhawks.
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith wants to be traded and there’s mutual interest between him and the Edmonton Oilers, a source tells The Athletic.
Edmonton is just a 90-minute flight from Colton’s home in Penticton, British Columbia. Much closer for Keith’s purposes. The Oilers are a good team but haven’t been able to make much noise in the playoffs. This due in large part to their inadequate defense. They allowed a hefty 3.50 goals per game during the 2020-2021 postseason. That isn’t going to get it done. Keith is a steady defensive presence with a wealth of championship experience.
Something that young Oilers team could make great use of. It comes down to some key factors though. What can the Blackhawks get in return and how much of Keith’s $5,538,462 cap hit would they have to take on, if any? Chicago needs to preserve as much money as possible for the looming Alex DeBrincat extension.
Duncan Keith has earned the right to end his career this way
He doesn’t owe the Blackhawks organization anything. He gave them All-Star appearances, two Norris trophies, three Stanley Cups, and 16 years of grinding, physical hockey. If he wants to spend his final seasons playing closer to his son? Then they should grant that request. Chicago is in the middle of a youth movement anyway. If they can get something decent for Keith, they can consider it one final gift from the future Hall of Famer.
This is not a situation made out of bad blood.
More a simple coming to the end of a thread. Duncan Keith is a legend. An all-time Blackhawks great. That is how he will always be remembered. If he gets to have some extra success in Edmonton or somewhere else for a couple of seasons? Good for him. He’s earned it. Nothing will change his loyalty and love for Chicago. The same goes for fans towards him. It will be sad to see him leave, but his place in history was assured long ago.