The Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers have been working on a Duncan Keith trade for the past few weeks, and after a lengthy day of reports, the trade is final. Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the deal is complete, with the Blackhawks receiving Caleb Jones and a third-round pick. No salary was retained by Chicago. Mark Spector of Sportsnet reports that at one point in the talks, the Oilers tried to include Mikko Koskinen in order to clear some cap space, but he is not involved in the final deal. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun finally reported that Blackhawks prospect Tim Soderlund is headed to Edmonton as well. He also notes that the third-round pick is in 2022 and that it could turn into a second-round pick if Edmonton wins three rounds in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Keith is top-four among Edmonton defensemen in terms of ice time.
The veteran defenseman told Chicago last month that he wanted to go to the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada in any deal to be closer to his home in British Columbia. Moving Keith before the expansion deadline would allow the Blackhawks to protect an extra defenseman, something that seems absolutely necessary given their situation at this point.
Keith, 37, has two years remaining on his contract and carries a $5.54MM cap hit. The legendary defenseman will go down as one of the best to ever play for the Blackhawks, helping them to three Stanley Cup championships and suiting up more than 1,300 times. Keith has played more regular-season games than any other defenseman in Blackhawks history and trails only Stan Mikita for the overall lead. His 625 points during that time trail only Doug Wilson among Blackhawks defensemen.
Of course, his play has deteriorated some over the past few seasons, meaning the Oilers won’t be getting the same player that enjoyed so much success in Chicago. Keith will turn 38 on Friday and recorded a career-low 15 points in 2020-21. There’s little doubt that he can still play at the NHL level, but it’s hard to know exactly what Edmonton will be getting from the veteran. With that uncertainty, it seems likely that they would have been asking for the Blackhawks to retain at least a portion of his salary, though it did not occur.
The Oilers actually do have a little bit of cap room to play with this offseason, but that’s mostly thanks to so many players hitting unrestricted free agency. Tyson Barrie and Adam Larsson are pending UFAs, while Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, and Kris Russell are only signed through the 2021-22 season. That would mean Keith is coming aboard with the longest term left on the back end, matching the injured Oscar Klefbom’s remaining two years. If it goes badly, the team is at least in a position to restructure their finances moving forward, though extensions for Larsson and Nurse could complicate those matters.
For Chicago, adding Jones is certainly an interesting factor, given their apparent interest in his brother Seth Jones who is also on the trade market. Even without a trade of that magnitude, moving Keith out will allow more opportunity for their other young defensemen and start the transition to the next wave of talent in the organization. Even at his age, Keith was still given more than 23 minutes a night, ice time that can be spread out among the team’s other options moving forward. Receiving some cap relief and a draft pick will also benefit the Blackhawks moving forward as they try to bridge the gap from their aging championship core to a new contending group.
Edmonton has struggled to find any playoff success during the Connor McDavid years, so bringing in Keith will certainly provide an experienced voice for the Oilers captain to lean on in the postseason. Whether that previous playoff success actually helps Edmonton find some in the future is certainly still to be seen, given Keith’s Blackhawks haven’t made it past the first round since 2015.
Remember, as with any trade in the coming days, there are expansion draft complications. While the Blackhawks will get an extra spot, Keith will now require protection by the Oilers thanks to a no-movement clause that will be carried over. Even with Jones going the other way and Larsson not yet signed, the team will likely now have to leave Klefbom exposed and hope the Kraken are scared off by his injury situation. Nurse and Ethan Bear would be the other two protection spots, unless a Larsson extension comes before the draft.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
How does this help EDM?
Joe Carters walkoff
Well its obvious……. it doesn’t
Have no idea lol
Throw Debrincat in the deal!
Holland is senile.
I still don’t understand this..does this mean they leave Klefbom unprotected? Is he exempt on the IR? Between Smith(don’t get me wrong like smith, don’t think he’s the answer though) and Keith,Holland is slowly turning the oilers into a retirement home.
@backhandinbaptist – Ken may be on his way to the Aluminum Walker Superstore right now. Buy more, save more! :)
Bittersweet for hawks fans, Keith is a legend but we need the cap space, I don’t understand why Edmonton would give up a pick though, seems like a fleecing
Joe Carters walkoff
He said ” Seems like ” haha
@backhandinbaptist – Easy there, that laugh could be contagious, and we don’t have a shot for it yet! :)
@aromaa , What you talking about Willis?
link to eliteprospects.com
NO ! Debrincrat
Yea this is crazy. Not an oil fan but i thought they should be all over keith because they were going to get him for a 2.8 cap hit. I figured play him as a 4/5 dman and give him more TOI playoff time, he was effective for CHI last year but was burt out from playing too many mins.
The fact that there is nothing retained and that they gave up a not half bad pick to get him blows my mind. The oil should have gained assests for doing this not gave any. Chi would have had to oay more then a 3rd for Seattle to take him, noylw they get 1 and all the cap space. I assume part of the deal is keith agrees to be exposed if needed, then again i assumed some $$$ would be retained
” Chi would have had to pay more then a 3rd for Seattle to take keith. Now they get a 3rd and all the cap space”
There have been two sides to this proposed trade. One, Keith’s game has deteriorated in the past 2-3 years, so that is their “con.” Two, Keith’s numbers (analytics) look bad due to trying to bring the younger D along faster than they maybe should be. If point one is true, this will not end up well for EDM. If point two is true, Keith could see a bit of a comeback, although I wouldn’t expect it to just “Wow” the fan base.
dave frost nhlpa
You are correct…it’s kind of like taking an ugly girl out with the hopes a few beers make the evening better,only to return from the bathroom and you walk right past her by accident.
Only way Keith can see a comeback is if he’s paired with Nurse otherwise he’s gonna be with defensive liability’s like Bear or unproven kid like Bouchard. Not sure if Larsson is brought back if he’d be a good partner either do to his poor transition game and skating ability. Oilers D might look very bad this year if Klefbom can’t come back
@dave frost nhlpa – In my case, back in the ’70s, the girl wasn’t ugly, by any stretch of the imagination, but man, she could drink like a fish! :)
Both Keith and Nurse are both Left Shot Defenseman , so most likely one would have to play on right side
Which is why I doubt it happens and why I mentioned the 3 right handed shots he’d potentially be partnered with
you never know with a dumb trade like this kenny might plan on nurse and Keith playing together with both on the left side at the same time lol
Wow. Sounds like no salary retained on the Hawks end either. What a move by Bowman for that
I sincerely hope Chicago is retaining half his salary in the deal otherwise this makes no sense for Edmonton. Why give up a younger, cheaper and better d-man for a 37-year old declining Keith? Either than or they’re taking Neal back in exchange.
@manos – It makes no sense for CHI to take Neal back. And, there apparently hasn’t been much to the 50% retention idea, either, so they are probably planning for no Klefbom this year.
Ken Holland that’s why
Nope. No salary retained for the Hawks. Bowman committed robbery here.
I don’t like this for the Oilers since they weren’t able to dump salary. This dramatically increases the chances they’ll have to buy someone out.
Keith for Caleb Jones and a 3rd, no salary retained.
I never say this, but Stan BoWman
Hell yeah, if I’m Seattle, I take a chance on Klefbom recovering. They have to pick 30 guys, after all. There’s certainly room for some speculative picks.
This is a lose-lose-lose for Edmonton. A lot of veteran leader-types who can still play are UFAs right now, and will come a lot more cheaply than Keith’s contract. So they lose Jones AND Klefbom AND a third-rounder AND take on Keith’s salary? What the hell, does Bowman have some compromising photos in his grasp or something?
@Nha Trang – You know if I’m Seattle ownership and have seen the success in VGK at actually trying to “win now”, I may not want Ron to build a “so-what” team, but get guys that have a high chance at immediate success and get to the playoffs in year one. That would mean passing on “iffy” picks like Klefbom and go for guys with as proven a track record as you can get. Seattle’s problem is that some teams learned a little from the VGK experience and may not let themselves get fleeced again, making it a bit tougher to get to the desired players.
@Tom Emansk1 – Yep, Stan gets a rare “W” on this one, eh? “Blind squirrel found acorn!”, followed by “I can’t believe I pulled this one over on Ken!”
I have to admit, it looks like the Hawks won this one. A rare day indeed.
Vegas wasn’t trying to ‘win now,’ though. Everyone looked at that initial roster as the worst roster in the league. Nobody thought players like Karlsson, McNabb, Theodore, Smith, Marchy were going to do what they did. Guys like Neal and Perron were meant to be tradebait. It just came together and worked for them. Seattle isn’t going to be able to replicate that easily.
@ MacJablonski–NotVegasLegend — But that’s what they have thirty picks for. You can PICK 20 win-nows, and still have room for 5 prospects and 5 oh-why-nots … never mind whatever extra goodies they get in side deals. Alright, Edmonton saying now that Klefbom probably won’t play next season might take him out of the running … but it might actually encourage Seattle to go after more high-priced contracts or UFAs if they’ve got a guaranteed LTIR candidate.
Oilers nation is losing their minds on Reddit
@bigdaddyt – They might be losing their minds on “www.you-name-it.com”, too, by the end of the hour…
@bigdaddyt – How can you tell? “Sorry, all of our servers are busy right now!” :)
Just an awful deal for the Oilers. Red Wings were so smart to dump Holland for Yzerman. This is what Ken thinks will help the team succeed with McDavid lol
@Gavin – I’m sure you are working on the follow-up poll question “Who won the trade, EDM or CHI?”, but do you think the CHI vote could set a record by exceeding 100%? :)
Edmonton finally gets some cap space and they decide to use over 5 million on a 38 year old way past his prime d-man instead of trying to find a winger for McDavid. Wow.
Isn’t it jaw dropping…just utterly shocking. I like Ken Holland but man o man what was he thinking here… unless he has some side deal with Seattle or something…finally out of cap hell and right back in with a 38 year old…
Edmonton Oilers fans and NHL fans, in general, seem to be hitting the panic button on this trade. Not so fast imo. Keith DOES add important influence and leadership in that locker room. He’s not inept at hockey even as his play has deteriorated but in Edmonton he won’t need to play 23 minutes a night. This trade isn’t gonna push Edmonton over the top but it is a step in the right direction imho. Now re-sign Larson and try and maybe trade for Tarasenko? Idk I think Keith still has value to a playoff contender, just not what he used to have but shit a three time cup winner as the top defensemen, a conn smythe, and two Norris trophies is a pedigree that will help Connor hone his team
Look at that potential Edmonton D and tell me again how he won’t have to put up a ton of minutes. They’re losing Barrie potentially Larsson and might not have Klefboom. Keith’s arguably their 2nd best D right now behind Nurse
I don’t disagree on some point for this trade, but I really don’t see how this helps Edmonton…another team maybe but not Edmonton…I hope Kenny knows what he’s doing.
I totally see that point. And if that ends up being true it negates ONE of the reasons not to panic. But he’s still a vet and a leader. Plus is his presence that much more of a detriment than an unproven rookie? regardless I choose to be optimistic in that I think they re-sign Larson and get back Klefbom at some point. The fact the league didn’t determine he should be exempted due to the injury gives me some reason to be optimistic about the long term. So POTENTIALLY you subtract Caleb Jones (who they haven’t been high on) and Barrie (who’s a defensive liability often) for Keith and Klefbom. Yes they’re question marks but is it really worse than what you had? Idk I’m choosing optimism. But I’m a Rangers fan so I don’t actually care, I just enjoy good hockey and good hockey is a good team around McDavid
@ EJesus98 – no one is saying that Keith isn’t a vet or a leader, and no one is saying he’s washed up: obviously the man can still play. And if he’d been a UFA, and Holland had signed him AFTER the draft to a two-year deal at (say) $2.5-3 million, Oilers Nation would be cheering.
But the price is far too high for the value. As I said uptopic, there’s plenty of UFA veteran leaders out there who can be HAD for that $2.5-3 million, that cost them no assets, force them to leave no one unprotected, and don’t strain a tight cap even further. Holland could have signed TWO of those guys with the money Keith will be getting. Hell, some of them are signing for less than that: after the season he had last year, Jason Spezza was a positive steal.
Fair. And I’m not saying this was a “good deal,” necesssarily. I just see some positives in it and most takes have been only negative. I’d argue no other UFA vet holds the same legitimacy and resume of Keith but yes there were cheaper options. To be honest tho, the announcement that Klefbom is likely out the whole year has hurt my optimism because now you either have to sign someone or have Keith play more minutes than he ought to. Hope for the best with Klefbom
Over on Oilersnation, lots of homer Oil fans saying its a good deal lol…..im so embarrassed to be an Oilers fan today!! If Mcd asked for a trade tomorrow, i would leave this tire fire organization as well…..smgdh
Holland seems to luv older players. I don’t understand. Maybe he needs some beer buddies?
I wonder if Duncan can retire like Greene did. That way Oilers are out a player for a 3rd. Wooooot,
In other news McDavid has requested a trade…
Good return for the Hawks, IMO.
And, the news we’ve all been waiting for – “the prospect.” Thanks to @Gavin for this, and on behalf of the other 43 postings, I’d like to say, in my best Emily Litella tone, “Never Mind!” :)
Holland is a nutter
10 years ago, this is a big deal. 38 and A LOT of mileage on him. Bad move.
All these EDM fans thinking this is a fleecing or a dumb move by Holland will be falling love with Keith by November. He will be a great 2nd pairing guy that battles every night. Keith may not be a true #1 anymore, but his work ethic and health are top notch. He is going to come in and help the younger Dmen rise. Mark my words.
not at a 5.5 million cap hit!! horrible deal
What Edmonton fans? After the trade was announced most jumped overboard and climbed aboard the Krakens bandwagon.
Honestly I’m sure we’ll get to see how good he is even at 38 but he ain’t no spring chicken and I’m sure he’s not fast anymore and our newfound cap room is getting eaten up by a 38 yr old…. I honestly think he’s a good addition, not at that cap hit and not for a prospect and a pick….waaaaayyy too much with no salary retention…but it’s ok we got Tim Soderlund…he had like 5 points in the AHL last year…
Yeah, I’m now seeing that Edmonton got an AHL 4th-liner in the deal (big whoop) and that the third-rounder sent to Chicago is conditional. Wonder what the conditions are. That Edmonton makes the playoffs/Keith plays X number of games, no doubt.
The Wikipedia articles on the various Entry Drafts always do say what the conditions are on the picks, when they’re announced, and when the articles are updated. Doesn’t say yet, but I expect it will within a day or two.
Nope, I’m wrong: there’s already been a posting on Wikipedia. “Chicago will receive a second-round pick in 2022 if Edmonton reaches the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals and Keith is amongst the top four in minutes played amongst Oilers defencemen during the first three rounds. Otherwise this will remain a third-round pick.”
This trade makes Hall for Larsson look good.
wu tang killa beez
The Oilers are hilarious
Oilers fans should know that the Blackhawks head coach has no defensive scheme at all. Keith and Seabrook were said to have been very angry with a Colliton. Under Colliton, the Blackhawks barely play any defense, so Keith’s numbers look worse than his play was. He’s not as bad as his numbers looked.
Holland supplemented his Red wing teams with veterans, I would expect him to continue the same thing with the Oilers. They are a young team that have been disappointing for many years, bringing in a few experienced veterans who have also seen playoff success is a great idea. Yes they may have over paid for Keith, but, Keith’s numbers are worse than his actual play was, because Chicago does not play defense at all under their head coach. All of their D-mens numbers suffer from their horrible coaching scheme, who plays offense only but doesn’t have the talent to do it.