The 2021 offseason is predicted to be a doozy with the Kraken’s growth draft and the unexpected flat cap looming for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
Now the primary domino has fallen, because the Blackhawks parted methods with three-time Stanley Cup champion Duncan Keith, sending him to the Oilers on Monday. The 2015 Conn Smythe winner requested a transfer to Western Canada to be nearer to his son, Colton, who lives in Penticton, B.C.
“Final yr was fairly troublesome, not having the ability to see him,” Keith mentioned on a Zoom name with reporters after the commerce was introduced. “I went nearly three months with out seeing him after which had a fast little go to and one other shut to 2 months with out seeing him. . . . I knew I did not need to go these lengthy durations of time with out seeing him.
“So I am excited to be nearer to him and have the ability to see him extra regularly and have him extra concerned and having the ability to come all the way down to Edmonton.”
It is hockey, however this commerce has way more to it than simply the on-ice product. It has extra that means to it than, actually, another commerce can have. Off the ice, it is an A+ to all of the groups concerned, however there may be, in fact, the on-ice side that followers will probably be focusing on. So, having mentioned that, here is a take a look at how every crew did:
- Dustin Keith (D)
- Tim Soderlund (F)
- Caleb Jones
- 2022 conditional draft decide
Jones certainly sweetens the pot for the Blackhawks. What pot you could ask? The one which will get them his brother, Seth Jones. The latter Jones brother will probably be a free agent subsequent summer season and has reportedly expressed a want to maneuver out of Columbus.
Would Seth waive his no-trade clause and preserve Chicago off his no-trade checklist? Presumably, so the siblings may play collectively a la the Niedermayers or (some) of the Sutters. The transfer made that acquisition barely lower than a pipe dream, because it additionally opened up some cap house for the Blackhawks. Keith’s cap hit was $5,538,462, and Jones’ cap hit could be $5,400,000.
Whatever the Seth prospects, Chicago will get a younger defenseman in Caleb with 93 video games of expertise below his belt (33 in 2021). He hasn’t posted large numbers within the NHL, however Caleb has proven he can convey an offensive sport with 29 factors in 50 video games with the Oilers AHL affiliate in Bakersfield in 2018-19 and 11 factors in 14 video games in 2019-20.
The transfer may very well be good for Caleb, as he did not have a lot room to develop and develop on the NHL stage. There have been a bunch of men blocking him and ascending into the lineup on a nightly foundation, comparable to Kris Russell, William Lagesson and Dmitri Kulikov (if he’s re-signed).
It ought to be famous that, if the Blackhawks someway swing a deal for Seth, it could behoove an enormous increase on the ultimate grade right here.
Intangibles. That is what led to Oilers common supervisor Ken Holland including Keith. Holland’s seen the analytics. He is seen the declining numbers, together with a minus-8 targets scored above common that was the third-worst mark for any NHL participant over the previous two seasons (minimal 100 video games), per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
However this commerce wasn’t about any of that from the Oilers’ perspective. It was in regards to the intangibles.
“I am unable to put a value on three Stanley Cups, two Norris Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy, two gold medals and his management, what he is meant to the Chicago Blackhawks franchise, how he is gained, profitable the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2015. Is he the identical participant in the present day? No. He would not be obtainable,” Holland mentioned. “Am I conscious of the analytics? Yeah. His analytics aren’t nearly as good as they have been in his prime, however I am not asking him to be our No. 1 defenseman, to play 25 minutes in opposition to the opposite crew’s finest gamers. Darnell Nurse goes to try this.”
The expectation is Keith will probably be slotted on the second defensive pairing, which can pit him in opposition to the opposition’s weaker strains. Final season, he led the Blackhawks in ice time (23:25), however as Holland famous, he will not have to try this now with Nurse on the blueline. Not being on a high D-pair may also restrict his publicity to the league’s superstars, which may assist shore up Keith’s sport and elevate his talent stage.
And Keith is hungry to point out he is not accomplished but regardless of turning 38 in 4 days.
“I really feel like I’ve loads,” Keith mentioned when requested how a lot is left in his sport. “As soon as we hit the ice, we’ll see who’s a step behind on the market. I am not a lot for speaking. It’s what it’s, and we’ll see what occurs once we get on the ice.”
Does Keith need to put collectively an All-Star season? No, as a result of, as talked about, it is not in regards to the on-ice sport as a lot as it’s the intangibles.
Final yr’s Oilers roster had one man who gained a Stanley Cup: Alex Chiasson, who gained with the Capitals in 2018. Keith has three and a Conn Smythe Trophy. Including a man that may convey management to the locker room, that has been within the trenches and is aware of what it takes to win a Stanley Cup — a number of Stanley Cups — is invaluable to a locker room.
“I needed to attempt to do one thing to make our crew higher, and I consider I made our crew higher in the present day. We added a professional top-four defenseman,” mentioned Holland, who’s taking criticism for the cap hit and never making the Blackhawks retain as a lot as 50 % of Keith’s wage. “I do know that he is 37 years of age, however he is motivated, he is excited and he is bringing in plenty of intangibles that it is laborious to place a value on. I do not know what they’re price, however I do know the groups that go on playoff runs and which might be good — and we simply watched lately this previous week and also you take a look at the veteran gamers and the impression that they’ve on these groups. I believe it is due to their expertise, and positively, that is the hope.”
Time will inform if Keith will really feel rejuvenated on a brand new crew, however he does add that ingredient the Oilers have been lacking. They have already got guys who can bury the puck in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. They have already got high defensive expertise like Nurse. Now they’ve the man who is aware of the way to win.