Blackhawks veteran defenseman Duncan Keith has been the subject of trade speculation after TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the team will approach him about whether he wants to waive his no-movement clause and be traded.
After this season, the 35-year-old 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. Keith, who is a three-time Stanley Cup winner and two-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman, has one goal and 20 assists in 51 games this season.
LeBrun said the Blackhawks will ask Keith what he wants to do, and it’ll be his decision whether or not the franchise proceeds with his name in trade talks.
“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 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 said.
Pierre doesn't speculate. He shares what he hears. I wouldn't question his info.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) February 1, 2019
Keith addressed the situation after Friday’s morning skate in Buffalo prior to the team’s game against the Sabres.
Duncan Keith shrugs off talk that the Blackhawks will ask him if he wants to waive his NMC and be traded to a contender. Said he be hasn't thought about it and hasn't been asked about it. One day at a time.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 1, 2019
Asked Keith if he's up for a rebuild/retool: "What’s a rebuild or a retool, who knows what that is? New Jersey was good last year and now they’re not good this year. So what happened? I don’t know. ... The league's different now. One year you’re good, the next year you’re not."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 1, 2019
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’s been a cornerstone piece in turning around the Blackhawks franchise and winning three Cups, including claiming the 2015 Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Chicago missed the playoffs the first three seasons of Keith’s career from 2005-08 then went on a 10-year playoff run before missing the playoffs last year. The Blackhawks are in 29th place in the 31-team league with 45 points.