'08-'09 Season Review-Duncan Keith

Duncan Keith

#2 / Defenseman / Chicago Blackhawks



Jul 16, 1983

Contract Status: $1.9 million through '09-'10

2008 - Duncan Keith 77 8 36 44 33 60 2 1 1 0 173 4.6

The Good:  There was so much of that.  From the beginning of the season until about March, Duncan looked for all the world like a Norris candidate.  He led all defensemen in +/-, added 12 points to his career high total to 44 (without much regular power play time), was third on the team in Behind The Net Rating, all while facing the third most difficult competition amongts D-men.  But there's more to it then that.  In my first year as a season ticket holder, Dunc was the first player I noticed on a nightly basis.  The stats tell their own story, but sitting in the UC every night and watching the effortless way he cleared dump ins, or broke up cycles, or transitioned up the ice.  I don't think there was any question that for the first five months of the season, Keith was the Hawks' best player, and it wasn't even that close.  Not surprisingly, when he missed a few games in January with a concussion, the Hawks done dropped them all.

The Bad:  Uh, just about when the wheels fell off.  In March, Keith's play dropped significantly, and so did the Hawks', and it's not a conincidence.  He looked a half-step slower, his decision making was off.  Was it an injury?  Was his slight frame not built to handle the minute-load he had all season?  Time will tell.  But the playoffs were no better.  Everyone remembers the turnover in Game 1 against Scum, but there were plenty of mistakes before that.  Nerves in a first playoff?   That unmentioned injury?  We'll find out next year I guess.  Keith got bailed out for two rounds by his partner Seabs, which is ironic because the joke amongst Hawks fans for the first part of the year was that Seabrook should be donating half his salary to Keith, as he was the one responsible for it.  Now?  Not so much.  Also bad is that Keith is due an extension, and despite his lackluster postseason, the Hawks cannot afford to lose him.

Nicknames: Dunc, The Flash

Playoff Beard Strength:  Decent.  About as good as mine, so I won't criticize.

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The Grade:  Up to you as always.  For me, if I had been asked this March 1st, it would have been A++.  But Keith's noticeable drop in form when we needed it most makes it a B+ for me.

How would you grade Duncan Keith's Year?