Blackhawks Trade Keith To The Oilers

by | Jul 12, 2021 | News, NHL, Rumors | 17 comments

The Chicago Blackhawks traded defenseman Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Caleb Jones and a third-round pick. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported there was no salary retention by the Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks trade Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE:’s Greg Wyshynski reports the third-rounder is a conditional pick. The Oilers lack a third-rounder in this year’s draft.

Keith became one of the best players in Blackhawks history during his 16 seasons in Chicago, helping them win three Stanley Cups. He also took home two Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenseman (2010, 2014) and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2015.

His decision to accept a trade to Edmonton was a personal one. He approached the Blackhawks about a trade several weeks ago to be closer to his son in Penticton, BC.

Turning 38 on July 16, Keith has two seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $5.538 million. His actual salary over that period is $3.6 million.

Keith’s best seasons are behind him. Nevertheless, Oilers general manager Ken Holland believes his experience and leadership will benefit his club and help them get over the playoff hump. Keith will likely slot into their blueline on the left side of their second pairing.

Holland’s critics are already raging against this trade on social media, considering it a waste of cap space. Keith’s defenders, meanwhile, believe he still has enough left in the tank to improve on a better club after spending the past two seasons paired with lesser blueliners on the Blackhawks.

This move also suggests Oscar Klefbom won’t be returning with the Oilers next season. He missed this season with a shoulder injury that finally required surgery in March. His future remains in doubt as his agent cannot foretell when his client will be ready to resume his playing career. He has two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.167 million.

The Blackhawks shedding Keith’s full cap hit is a significant move by GM Stan Bowman. Jones’ $850K cap hit for this season is a pittance by comparison. While the 24-year-old is best suited for third-pairing duty, his low cap hit will free up considerable payroll room for Bowman to make a more significant addition this summer.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones has been linked to the Blackhawks in trade rumors for several weeks. Perhaps the addition of his young brother could entice Jones to accept a trade to Chicago and sign a contract extension with the Blackhawks.


  1. wtf i think kh blew it. why not go after the big fish ourselves and use that 5.5 in that pursuit, guys an idiot!

    • Because they might not wanna play in edmonton

  2. I like Duncan Keith. He’s still a somewhat serviceable player, but Kenny Holland just lost another trade.
    He hasn’t made a sensible trade or signing since around 2009.
    I hope this move works for the Oil, and gives them what they’re looking for.

    • Maybe there’s more to it. I just don’t know.

    • S.o.p.,

      I agree whole heartedly.

      To have to give up a third rder with no salary retained is absolute insanity!!!

    • I like keith on the oil. Think he will be a good fit for the team and lock down the 2nd pair with larson when he is resigned which i expect post expansion draft. I also think the intagibles he brings is an asset. Its one thing to get advice from a player that went to the finals, or even one that won a cup, but there is added value having it come from a 3 time winner, a 2 time norris wjnner and a conn smythe winner.

      Hope jones finds success and even if he turns into a top 4 dman i wont lament his loss as its likely as early as next year nurse/broberg will hold down the left side for a long time to come. Keith is a good placeholder til broberg is set again assuming klefblom is not returning.

      The only thing that makes zero sense is the gratuitous 3rd to chicago.

    • I also didn’t think this trade would happen without the Oil sending salary back, or CHI eating some. I was fine with Keith in EDM as they needed a guy for a couple years. Most quoted “scouts” says he can still play.

      The Oilers & Holland obviously believe Keith can be a quality 2nd pair D man and play 18-21 minutes a night for the next 2 seasons. And bring cup champion, Norris winner work ethic and attitude to the Oilers. That attitude is expected to help their stars and young high pick D men Bouchard and soon Broberg who may still be a year away. I think Oilers MGT believe in him and are happy today.

      If he is that player this is exactly what the Oilers need. If he isn’t, at age 38 to start the season, this is a bad move that will be difficult to defend due to that age.

      Call it risky, call it gutsy, call it stupid, call it great, it will go a long way to define Holland’s time in EDM. So I think risky describes it best.

      Oiler fans will be watching with a jaded and skeptical eye. My first reaction was they should have passed without salary retention, we will see how it plays out.

  3. So the 3rd rder is for the ’23 year draft???

    Calgary owns Edmonton’s 3rd this season, ’21.

    NJ has a conditional hold on Edmonton’s 3rd rder for ’22.

    • My mistake, the Oil didn’t win a round in this past playoffs, so NJ no longer holds that condition.

  4. I think Oiler fans will be pleasantly surprised with how good Keith still is.

    Duncan Keith is turning 38 and his TOI last year was 23:25 which is right up there, close to his career avg.

    Darnell Nurse is 26 and his TOI was 25:38

    He remains a minute muncher who plays more than the rest of the D after Nurse.

    • Holland had success with old ‘washed up’ d in the past such as chelios and Murphy. The Keith pickup fits the mo, he will be good.

    • What you are forgetting there is that he wasn’t very good playing 23 minutes a night. If they plan to play him 17-18 minutes a night, this trade will not be completely terrible.
      If they are bringing him in to play 20min+ I am gonna make a not so bold prediction that it will be a massive let down for Oil Nation

  5. What a poor decision why not wait until after the free agent market to make this decision? The fall out just prior to the expansion draft or frankly anything other than taking on this salary for a 38 year playing on a speed team. As this team already has 3 bad contracts adding a 4th is just bad cap management.

    • Tempvy, here is my theory to the why not wait question is he would have likely gone to Seattle who along with EDM were the 2 teams on Keith’s list and rumored to be in it.
      CHI could have left him unprotected and he goes to Seattle, CHI doesn’t eat anything.

      The Oil were likely going to protect 7F & 3D, or risk losing one of Puljujarvi or Yamamoto, so Jones was likely out the door any way. So what did they really give up?

      The Oil need a guy for 2 years before Broberg ready for 2nd pair minutes so not every UFA D man would sign for 2 or less (There aren’t many LD available) The other option was Martinez for that window I suppose, but no guarantee you get him.

      Rumor here is they really wanted a guy with the background and resume of a Keith who could still play.

      UFA’s are usually over priced for AAV, so is Keith IMO. They really wanted him, well they got him. His play will be scrutinized here, that I do know for sure. We will see if he can still play soon enough I guess.

  6. I don’t know what to make of this trade, but I agree with whoever said it seemed to make no sense to rush it. Why the urgency to get it done? Where else was he looking? Calgary? Vancouver? If there was urgency it was certainly from the Chicago end which means they should have been giving the 3rd rounder away.

    Also George, I love Pierre McGuire. Sincerely. I just don’t think he’s there to be a player development guy. As I said, 0% fact. Just opinion. I think this is a Melnyk power play to ultimately shake up his GM and coaching staff.

  7. Keith can still skate. Always one of his attributes. Which has allowed him the longevity. Wonder how Barrie feels . Likely to end up with similar money (but longer term)
    Keith -What a bargain career salary wise. Not every star is a $10 million dollar man

  8. Dumping Keith’s salary definitely helps, but acquiring Jones and seeing what Columbus wants in return will be interesting. If they ask for Dach , Debrintcat or Reichel, I would tell them to find a nother team


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