The Blackhawks will ask veteran defenseman Duncan Keith if he wants to be traded prior to the NHL’s Feb. 25 trade deadline, according to NHL insider Pierre LeBrun.
Keith, 35, has one goal and 20 assists in 51 games this season while playing top-line minutes on Chicago’s blue line. After this season, the three-time Stanley Cup winner and two-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman will have four years remaining on his 13-year contract that carries a $5.53 million annual salary cap hit with a no-movement clause, according to CapFriendly. In order for Keith to be traded, he’ll have to waive his NMC.
“I find it hard to believe that Duncan Keith would switch teams, but I will tell you this — the Hawks will go to him right before the trade deadline and say, ‘what do you want to do?’ He has a full no-trade clause. Four more years on his deal at $5 and half million,” LeBrun said Thursday night on TSN’s ‘Insider Trading.’
Keith has 564 points (93 goals, 471 assists) in 1,046 career games with the Blackhawks since being drafted 54th overall in the second round of the 2002 NHL draft. He has played a key role in turning around the Blackhawks franchise and winning three Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015, including claiming the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs during the most recent Cup run.
His point and assist totals rank second all time among defenseman in franchise history only behind Doug Wilson (779 points, 471 assists). Keith’s games played are third most in franchise history behind teammate Brent Seabrook (1,054) and the late Stan Mikita (1,396).
“(Keith) decides his future. He’s a legacy player, yes for Chicago. But I think (general manager) Stan Bowman and the hierarchy in Chicago will go to him and say, ‘what do you want to do? Do you want to go to a contender or stay here with the rebuild. That conversation will happen,” LeBrun continued.
Pierre doesn't speculate. He shares what he hears. I wouldn't question his info.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) February 1, 2019
[FULL VIDEO: LeBrun talks about Keith at 3-minute mark]
The Blackhawks missed the playoffs last year for the first time in 10 years, and look destined for the same fate this year. They sit in 29th place in the 31-team league with 45 points.