A storied 17-year NHL career for Duncan Keith has come to an end.
Keith is set to retire after spending just one year with the Edmonton Oilers. His resume is about as great as it gets when it comes to defencemen.
Three Stanley Cups. Two Norris trophies. A Conn Smythe trophy. Two Olympic Golds.
Keith broke into the league with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2005-06 season after being taken in the 2nd round three years prior. His impact was near immediate and in 2009-10, Keith won his first Norris Trophy.
Named an assistant captain in 2007-08, Keith was a key cog in the Blackhawks dynasty helping them win in 2010, 2013 and in 2015.
He joined the Oilers on July 12th, 2021 and once again, became a big piece of the puzzle in Edmonton. While his play had significantly dropped off and had more than his fair share of blunders, there’s no denying the impact he left on the organization.
“I thought it was better than I ever could’ve imagined really. There were a lot of firsts for myself — going to a new team, getting traded and living in a new city, a different team, lots of different things — at the end of the day, a lot of great memories from this past season getting to play with the best player in the world Connor right here and sitting up next to him,” said Keith at the end of the season. “Just to see how he goes about his business and the same with Leon as well, just to be around that makes you a better player. I think as players, you’re in the NHL and want to get keep getting better, so I think as a team we pushed one another and that’s what kind of makes the year special. It’s not the way we wanted it to end, but as I said earlier, there was a lot of growth.”
All through the season, players and coaches spoke of the impact he had on the team.
“Well, it’s a little different when you get someone like Duncs who has been through it all,” said Evan Bouchard at the season, who found himself on a pairing with Keith for the bulk of the season. “He knows what he’s doing and the style of play he wants to play. The more you listen and the more you can take in, the better it’s going to make you and the pairing. The better the pairing does, it helps the team. The more you listen to him and pick his brain is going to help you out.”
Now, the Oilers will gain $5.5-million in cap space coming off the books for this season. It frees up a significant amount of cap for a team who was facing a crunch. Buckle up, because this week is about to get interesting.
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