Blackhawks Trade Keith To The Oilers
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.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN.com’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.