Duncan Keith Trade Rumors: Blackhawks, Oilers Have Mutual Interest in Move

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 2, 2021

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 07: James Neal #18 of the Edmonton Oilers and Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks skate after the puck in the second period of Game Four of the Western Conference Qualification Round at Rogers Place on August 07, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Duncan Keith could be on his way to the Edmonton Oilers as the Chicago Blackhawks continue discussing possible trades for their longtime No. 1 defenseman.

According to The Athletic's Scott Powers and Daniel Nugent-Bowman, there's mutual interest between the Oilers and Hawks, and Keith wishes to be closer to his son in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.

Per Nugent-Bowman:

The Oilers aren't willing to make the trade at all costs. They'd like Chicago to retain salary or to take a bad contract off their hands, the source said.
James Neal is the most obvious option. He has a $5.75 million cap hit for two more seasons, a dollar figure and term that almost matches Keith's. Neal is also the team's leading buyout candidate; the buyout period ends July 27 โ€” a day before free agency begins.

Nugent-Bowman also suggested right winger Zack Kassian and goaltender Mikko Koskinen as potential trade chips for Edmonton. Keith is coming off a four-goal, 11-assist season over 54 games in which he averaged 23:25 of ice time per game.

The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has never played fewer than 50 games in a season, with the exception of the lockout-shortened campaign in 2012-13. He's one of seven players the Hawks rostered on each of their three Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2009-10, 2012-13 and 2014-15 (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook), and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2014-15 as well as the Norris Trophy in 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Per Powers:

Keith, who turns 38 later this month, isn't the Norris-caliber defenseman he was in the past and probably has been playing too much for the Blackhawks in recent years. That said, there are teams who can probably envision Keith still being effective in a lesser role and would like having his experience around. The question is whether a team would fully take on Keith's contract, which has a $5,538,462 cap hit for two more years.

"We weren't looking to move him, but it was initiated by Duncan," a source told Powers. "He'd like to be closer to his son. He's getting older, and Duncan didn't get to see him much last season. We understand that."

The Blackhawks have made the postseason just once since 2016-17 and haven't advanced past the first round since 2014-15. Edmonton, meanwhile, is close to contending for a Stanley Cup with Hart Trophy winners Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.