As the NHL approaches the trade deadline on February 25th, the old trade rumor machine kicks back to life and fans grumble when their favorite players are mentioned.
Hot off the rumor press this week, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said had an interesting note about Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith as the NHL returned to play.
Here is what LeBrun reported:
“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,”
Keith shot down the rumors, but there’s still plenty of time left until the trade deadline.
” I haven’t thought about. I like it here in Chicago and nobody’s mentioned anything to me.” Keith told The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus.
It’s a possibility that the Blackhawks will ask Keith what he wants to do, but it would be unlikely that Keith is traded especially when he has the say so. However, It wouldn’t hurt to see how much the rest of the league values Keith and what the return on him can be.
If Keith was traded where would he end up?
Realistically Keith could either end up in Montreal or Winnipeg.
Montreal is currently holding a wild-card spot and could use a puck-moving a defenseman like Duncan Keith to generate offense. With Montreal GM Marc Bergevin’s tendency to favor veterans and his relationship with Stan Bowman, Keith could be a perfect fit.
The Winnipeg Jets are first place in the Central Division and are looking towards another deep playoff run. Keith could be the player the Jets need to get them over the top.
How can Montreal and Winnipeg afford Keith?
Keith currently has a $5,538,462 cap hit over the next 4 years. This is where it gets interesting, Keith’s salary decreases around $3M over the next 4 years. Essentially his cap hit stays $5.53M, however, the team will pay him significantly less over the next 4 years. So a small market team like Winnipeg would be able to afford him if they can absorb the $5.53M cap hit.
If the Blackhawks were to trade Duncan Keith it would certainly signal the end of an era and that a full rebuild has begun.