Monday, July 5, 2021

Duncan Keith Jersey Card

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Colour me baffled once again by Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland, who traded promising young prospect Caleb Jones and a third-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for the totality of Duncan Keith's remaining two years, $5.53M cap hit and all. Keith had shown a desire to play in Western Canada or with the Seattle Kraken, which left just the Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks as possible suitors, and the Canucks and Flames were reportedly not interested. It seemed like Hawks GM Stan Bowman had his hands tied, but he may actually have been in possession of pictures of Holland in the same position that he didn't want to see released to the public.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Duncan Keith. He's a first-ballot Hall Of Famer, a two-time Norris Trophy winner (in the Nicklas Lidstrom era no less), and a three-time Stanley Cup Champion whose Conn Smythe performance in 2015 was the most dominant performance I've ever seen by a skater during a playoff series - more so than Chris Pronger and Erik Karlsson's failed Cup runs, more than any forwards I remember (which admittedly, because I was too young and only started paying serious attention to hockey in the Spring of 1986, doesn't include Wayne Gretzky's two Smythe-worthy performances although it does include Mario Lemieux's).

But he's 37 and will turn 38 later this week, he has been trending downwards for eight seasons, with the last four being particularly painful in terms of possession statistics, though his "real" stats in 2018-19 were pretty good. Which means the Oilers should have gotten the Hawks to at least retain a couple of millions for each season, or half his salary in Year One and none for the last... anything, really.

Keith is no longer the first-pairing defenseman he used to be, he will have to get sheltered minutes with someone who can both keep up with and help him (fix his mistakes). There are rumours Ryan Suter, Keith Yandle and others might get bought out; perhaps waiting on these options to present themselves would have diminished the price paid or improved the return.

But let's harken back to when no one knew the heights he would reach after being drafted in the second round (54th overall) four years prior, on card #RT-DK from Upper Deck's 2005-06 Series 2 set and Rookies Threads sub-set:
It shows him wearing the Hawks' classic red jersey, with a matching swatch (possibly from the same photo shoot).

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