Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has had a long and storied career with the organization, but that time could potentially be coming to an end, as a new report indicates that the team may be looking to work out a trade with a specific group of teams.
According to the report from Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman, Keith and the Blackhawks are working on a trade that would send the defenseman to a team in the Pacific Northwest or western Canada:
“Word is Keith and the team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go,” Friedman said in the tweet.
Keith, who was born in Winnipeg and played junior hockey in Penticton, located in British Columbia in western Canada, has a no-movement clause in his contract with the Blackhawks, meaning that he would have to sign off on any trade.
Keith currently has two years left on a 13-year contract extension he signed with the team in Dec. 2009. The contract carries a salary cap hit of $5.5 million, but will only pay Keith a total of $3.6 million over the next two seasons, according to CapFriendly.
If Keith’s preferred destinations are limited to the northwestern United States and western Canada, there are likely only four team options. The expansion Seattle Kraken are set to begin play in the 2021-22 season, and could look to Keith for veteran leadership as they start out in the NHL. In Canada, the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames would all potentially bring Keith closer to his family.
All three Canadian teams likely have some salary cap space, but would probably have to do some maneuvering to fit Keith’s contract on the books, or require the Blackhawks to absorb at least some of the cap hit. The Oilers have $16.2 million in cap space and 19 players on their roster, making them the team with the easiest potential time in absorbing a new deal, but things could be more complicated for the Canucks and Flames.
Vancouver only has 15 players under contract for next season, so despite having nearly $16 million in cap space, they would likely have to shed some salary or have the Blackhawks absorb some of Keith’s cap hit. Having to potentially dish out new contracts for Brock Boeser (after next season) and Quinn Hughes (this offseason) also will force the Canucks to make some decisions if they decide to move forward on a Keith swap.
Things are even more complicated for Calgary, as the Flames have $14.5 million in cap space, but only 13 players on their active roster for next season.